Marseille failed with Drogba approach

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The Independent Football

Marseille enquired about the availability of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba before finally settling on Brandao as their attacking recruit in the January transfer window.

Drogba, had a year at the Stade Velodrome in the 2003/04 campaign, was Marseille owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus' chief target this month.

But Louis-Dreyfus' audacious attempt to sign the player the Mediterranean side sold to Chelsea for around £24m in the summer of 2004 was quickly rebuffed by the Barclays Premier League giants.

"I called (Chelsea chief executive) Peter Kenyon to sound him out about Didier Drogba," Louis-Dreyfus told French daily L'Equipe.

"But they absolutely do not want to let him go."

Drogba has been axed from Chelsea's side to face Southend in the FA Cup tonight, becoming the first victim of Luiz Felipe Scolari's get-tough policy following their 3-0 mauling by Manchester United on Sunday.

The striker was a favourite when he was at Marseille, where he won France's Player of the Year award in his only season at the club.

Louis-Dreyfus also revealed that Atletico Madrid forward Sergio Aguero and Adriano, Inter Milan's Brazil international, were targets of his but admitted the high-profile pair were also out of Marseille's range.

Brandao should complete his move from Shakhtar Donetsk today once he passes a medical. The clubs agreed terms on the transfer yesterday.