Former West Ham scout: We almost landed Drogba

Drogba played at French side Guingamp at the time.

He said: “Didier was really keen on moving to West Ham. He gave me his word he would join that summer as long as West Ham stayed in the Premiership.

“But unfortunately they went down and he felt that, at the stage his career had reached, he could not risk playing in a second tier of football.

“He was hardly known in European football. Guingamp was an unfashionable club and he lived in a little cottage in Brittany.

“There was absolutely nothing in the town apart from one hotel with four rooms in it which was like something out of a Frankenstein film.

“It was the land that time forgot and a world away from life in a capital city like London. Didier was a humble lad who just trained and then relaxed at home and obviously the thought of playing in the Premiership was a big thing for him.

“He was earning about £2,000 a week and was looking at £15,000 a week at West Ham, so that was an attraction in itself.

“He was all over the pitch for Guingamp, back in defence one minute, beating the last defender the next. He was like Captain Marvel.

“I told him he would be a big player in England and you could tell when you talked to him he had that burning desire. I knew he would succeed over here, it’s just a pity it turned out to be for Chelsea!”