Neil Warnock admits he turned down the chance to sign Didier Drogba for £100,000 from Chelsea

While in command of Sheffield United, Neil Warnock admitted he once turned down the chance to sign Didier Drogba.

Warnock and Drogba

When Warnock claims one of his players, Laurent D’Jaffo, approached him with a tip to recruit Drogba, the Blades were in the Championship at the time. Drogba began his career with French second-tier club Le Mans in 1998, where he played four years.

D’Jaffo, who was with the Blades from 2000 to 2002, allegedly begged with Warnock to recruit the Ivory Coast striker for just £100,000. However, he acknowledged declining the financial risk for the club before joining Chelsea for £24 million in 2004 via Guingamp and Marseille, where he became a Blues legend after winning four Premier League titles and a Champions League winner’s medal.

Word from Warnock

When questioned about his biggest lost transfer opportunity during his career, Warnock stated that Drogba was one of many.

‘I think every manager has one,’ Warnock told talkSPORT. ‘Usually, it’s a striker, with a manager. The main one early in my career, I had a French lad, Laurent D’Jaffo, he said to me, “Gaffer I’ve seen a player for you in the second division in France, very good, £100,000”.

‘I said, “£100,000? That’s a lot for a second-division French player. What’s his name?” He said, “Drogba”.

‘I said, “we can’t pay £100,000 for a second division French player”. You all know what happened to him in the end, Drogba. That was my biggest [missed opportunity]. I don’t think I could have had a bigger loss than that one.’

While in charge of Sheffield United, Warnock led the club to Premier League status in 2006, where he faced Drogba for the first time. However, despite his side being trounced 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and 2-0 at home, Drogba failed to score in either match, playing only 70 minutes in total.

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