Ex-Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has revealed that he had the chance to sign Didier Drogba when he was boss at Bramall Lane but thought £100,000 was too much for the striker.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference, the Cardiff City chief said that his friend and French scout Laurent D’Jaffo spotted a young Drogba playing for Le Mans in the French second division and recommended the Ivorian as a potential recruit for the Blades.
Warnock, who was in charge at Bramall Lane from 1999 to 2007, said D’Jaffo identified Drogba as aggressive, big and no slouch – apparently just his type of player.
“I said, ‘Laurent, I can’t sign anyone from the second division in France.’ He says, ‘gaffer, I’m telling you he’s a good player’,” Warnock said.
“‘How much do they want? Hundred grand.’ I said, ‘I can’t be spending hundred grand, chairman will go bloody daft here.
“When he went for I don’t know how many million, he text me saying, ‘he’s playing at Chelsea boss.’ So the one that got away eh?”
Drogba later joined Guingamp and Marseille before securing his big money move to Chelsea for £24million.
The Ivory Coast international recently announced his retirement from football after winding up his career with Phoenix Rising in the USA, where he is co-owner.
During nine seasons with Chelsea, Drogba scored 164 goals and won 12 major honours including the Champions League.