After the team’s first match in their brand-new stadium this past Saturday evening, Phoenix Rising FC have signed former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. The Ivorian international will be made available for immediate selection in manager Frank Yallop’s side.
Phoenix Rising FC Sign Didier Drogba
Drogba brings with him a wealth of experience at various levels of the game, a member of three FIFA World Cups with the Ivory Coast and achieving tremendous club success with Chelsea. The 39-year-old captured four English Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge and scored the winning penalty during the UEFA Champions League final in 2012 to defeat Bayern Munich.
Drogba last played with the Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer, scoring 23 goals across all competitions during his time in Canada. Injuries and fitness, along with issues playing on turf, affected much of his campaign in 2016.
With former team-mate and close friend Shaun Wright-Phillips arriving in Phoenix earlier this year, the two Blues will now once again be working together in the USL.
An attacking approach in the desert
Phoenix Rising FC have brought in a significant amount of attacking weapons ahead of the 2017 campaign. Along with the addition of Didier Drogba, the club have also added former Chivas forward Omar Bravo and the aforementioned Shaun Wright-Phillips.
With Wright-Phillips and Luke Rooney operating on the wings, the use of Bravo and Drogba as a striker partnership suddenly becomes a genuine nightmare for opposing defenses. Even with both players at the later stages of their careers, the club will likely be able to count on significant goalscoring numbers moving forward.
In terms of star power, few players at any level in the United States bring the experience and pedigree of Didier Drogba. A key to success will be for Frank Yallop to get the squad comfortable and playing well within the designed system.
Ahead of an important first season as a rebranded franchise and playing in a sparkling new home ground, Phoenix Rising FC ownership have truly made headline-grabbing transactions ahead of 2017.