James Lawton: Ancelotti brushed aside by Chelsea owner's whimsical pursuit of Torres

If Ancelotti doesn't know now that his knowledge counts no more than the dregs at the bottom of the samovar, he never will

However it turns out for Carlo Ancelotti now that one of the most tawdry institutions in professional sport – the mid-season reapplication of power and wealth known as the transfer window – is over, it may be that he will take a bracing course of action rather sooner than later.

It would be a confirmation of our best instincts about him if he told Roman Abramovich at season's end precisely in what part of his opulent empire he could stick his job.

By way of explanation he could point out that he came to Stamford Bridge as a man of great football distinction and not the grateful beneficiary of random largesse from an oligarch's table – and that was the way he intended to leave, molto presto.

If Ancelotti, a man who has brilliantly occupied the game's high ground as both a player and a coach, doesn't know now that working for Abramovich requires the abandonment of any belief that your accumulated knowledge and experience count for much more than the dregs at the bottom of the samovar, he never will.

Ideally, and as absolute confirmation of those feelings about his value system, he would have made the grand gesture when Abramovich intruded so grotesquely into the running of an apparently sweet-running, successful team with the still unexplained sacking of Ray Wilkins.

But then Ancelotti has a contract and, like Jose Mourinho before him, no doubt had his reasons to fulfil the professional obligations presented by any season and perhaps, reasonably enough, a certain reluctance to abandon a small fortune.

You might think it odd to raise such a prospect on the heels of the owner's brandishing of £50m in the successful pursuit of Fernando Torres. Wouldn't any coach gladly take such a gift, from wherever it came – and however questionable the process?

Maybe, maybe not, but there is one certainty: a world-class striker, however intent he swears to be on meeting a new challenge, so soon after becoming sour on those he accepted while joining his first foreign club, is never going to offer certainties – especially as an entirely adequate substitute for the belief of someone like Ancelotti that he is in charge of his own destiny.

Strikers come and go, get injured or go bad, but a great manager, who has seen it all and done it all, creates something more valuable as long as he is properly respected and supported.

He creates a culture not only of success but an understanding of a way to behave, a collective attitude that is above all about the integrity of and unity of a team. Of course he wants the best available talent, but on his own terms and in his own time.

However, such a privilege seems to be quite beyond the remit of a man of deeply impressive achievement.

Abramovich, having kept his hand so firmly in his pocket (give or take £18m on the so far somewhat inconsequential Ramires) when the coach suggested Chelsea's prime need was the kind of midfield strengthening that would have been infinitely better represented by someone like Bastian Schweinsteiger, decided he would dig up £50m in the attempt to sign Torres.

Of course Ancelotti was not likely to sneer at the promise of such a gift, especially after the Spaniard had so clearly reinforced the belief that his brilliant performance against Chelsea at Anfield was less a rallying statement on behalf of Liverpool than a most compelling job application, but he was also no doubt aware of the implications to his own authority.

Ancelotti might suggest many things for the benefit of Chelsea Football Club but who can now try to obscure the fact that while he proposes, Abramovich disposes – and so often in such an overweening fashion that the role of the manager, whether he is an Ancelotti or a Mourinho or a crony like Avram Grant, is pummelled near to dust?

You may say Chelsea is Abramovich's plaything and that he is perfectly entitled to amuse himself in any way he chooses. That's fine if you don't believe that a football club has a wider function than to satisfy the mood of its owner and its most pragmatic, win-hungry fans.

The trouble over the last few days has been that even with the prospect of a player of Torres' quality on board, there could be no lessening of the sense of a diminished Ancelotti. Again he has looked like a peripheral figure. And then how might Didier Drogba, the pulverising force at Bolton the other night and still one of the world's most intimidating forwards, be affected? These properly are the considerations of a manager who is paid to know how players think and the game works.

Maybe the positives promised by a reactivated Torres outweighed all other considerations, in the mind of the coach as well as the owner, but it is still impossible to separate this from the vision of an oligarch in an ivory tower.

It means that if the Torres affair has been the dominant drama of the transfer window, in so many ways it has also been the least edifying. It has shown us what happens so easily when a rich man selects not his player of the ages but his whim of the month.

Saintly slant on why Liverpool is best for Carroll

Who would have thought Liverpool, fresh from impoverishment and new to the buttoned-down planning of their latest American ownership, would be the club to make the big plunge for the hugely promising but still problematic Andy Carroll?

As it happens, the man who thought it was no other than one of the great centre-forwards of Anfield history, Ian St John.

St John's advocacy was partly to do with his belief that more than anything Carroll needed to be prised away from an environment where he had been both lionised and near-ruined.

Carroll may have been a sensational prospect but he was also a man-child of a background where all his indiscretions, and worse, were washed away on a tide of "bonnie lad" bonhomie. We know what such a culture has done to generations of Newcastle footballers and the point of St John was well-aimed.

"This is a boy," he said, "who has vast potential but still needs to learn so much on and off the field. He has to grow up in an environment where he can experience something beyond his current goldfish bowl – somewhere like London or Manchester or, yes, Liverpool."

In Liverpool, Carroll would be another footballer, albeit one with formidable natural gifts, but he wouldn't exactly be a walking phenomenon – not after the likes of Rush and Fowler, Owen and, yes, St John, whom Bill Shankly adored so much that he said that if he hadn't been a great striker he would have made a very passable middleweight champion.

As the clubs were reported to have agreed terms at around £35m yesterday, there was surely an additional lure for a young man who insists that the mayhem is over and that his priority now is a significant football career. It was the possibility of the tutelage of Kenny Dalglish, something that suggested itself as a much longer-term prospect given the weight of Liverpool's bid.

If Dalglish cannot teach Carroll something about scoring goals, he is beyond education, even hope.

'Madman' brings sanity to a crazy market

If there is a prize for the most authentic instant impact signing of the transfer window it must go to reigning European champions Internazionale.

Their revival under the former Brazil star Leonardo was looking extremely hazardous at half time at San Siro, where Palermo had sneaked their way into a 2-0 lead.

It was time, the coach decided, for the entrance of the relatively modest £12m signing from Sampdoria, Giampaolo Pazzini – talented but perhaps not the most equable of strikers. He was sent off two minutes into his second game for Italy and rejoices in the nickname "Il Pazzo" – "The Madman".

For the Inter fans, however, it is already a sublime eccentricity. He scored two goals, played with exhaustible optimism and won the dubious penalty that delivered victory. Whatever else is said of Il Pazzo, for once in his life he looked like a rare case of sanity – at least in a crazy market.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?