Fernando Torres secures guarantee to be new leader of Chelsea's strike force


Fernando Torres was assured yesterday that he has won his battle to be Chelsea's lead striker next season when the club's chief executive said that – despite Torres' post-Champions League final outburst about his recent unhappiness – the £50m man would be at the centre of the Chelsea team.

Ron Gourlay said there was no problem with Torres, who gave an outspoken interview in the aftermath of Saturday's final, saying he would have to consider his future in the light of being left out of the team to start the game against Bayern Munich. He described his omission as the "biggest disappointment" of his life and his recent struggles at Chelsea as the "worst in my career".

Chelsea will not take any action against the player, and it was clear from Gourlay's words that the new manager of the club – whether it is Roberto Di Matteo or someone else – will be expected to accommodate Torres in his team. With Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou both leaving the club, there will be no little pressure on Torres, who has scored 12 goals in one and a half seasons, to fill the void.

Gourlay said: "Fernando is fine. We all get emotional. Everyone wants to play in the Champions League final. I was with Fernando Torres and the boys in the dressing room afterwards and nobody was disappointed, there was no negativity. None at all. In fact, it was much the opposite.

"We've got Fernando Torres. And Fernando Torres is the man that we will go forward with and Fernando Torres will score us the goals. I have no doubt about that. Fernando Torres is a world-class centre-forward and Fernando Torres will score goals for Chelsea. I'm not worried at all. We've just won the Champions League and Fernando Torres played his part in that.

"He was disappointed that he didn't play, and I think that led to the rest. Things are fine. There is no problem. Fernando is a fantastic player and an asset to the football club and we have no problems at all. It's not all about goals. It's not just about the individual scoring goals, his teamwork... he is a very, very important player. And I think you will see Fernando Torres score many goals for Chelsea."

Asked whether that ruled out Chelsea signing another striker, Gourlay said: "We may have two big-name centre-forwards scoring 25-30 goals for us next season and maybe then we will improve on our sixth position in the league." He refused to elaborate on Chelsea's targets, which include Radamel Falcao, Hulk, Eden Hazard and Edinson Cavani. The club would not confirm they have had a £32.4m bid for the Brazilian Lucas Moura turned down by Sao Paulo.

On the question of Di Matteo's future and the appointment of a new manager, Gourlay said that the decision would be made at a board meeting that would take place in the next few weeks and attended by Roman Abramovich. While Abramovich's voice is clearly the most important, Gourlay said it was his belief the Russian billionaire owner would also take soundings from those at the club.

"The delay is just the timeframe of the board of directors and everyone getting together," he said. "It [the decision] is the [responsibility of] the owner and the board of directors. We are able to communicate with the boss [Abramovich] all the time. It's not just a matter of when he is in town. Obviously, he likes to understand what's going on in his football club, he likes to be part of the process, on all sides of the business. So there is a continuous communication there."

As for the clamour from some in the dressing room to give Di Matteo the job, Gourlay said it would not have an impact on the thinking of the club. "We do listen, but at the end of the day it won't force us to rush into a decision. We have to get it right. The players will always have a view, but at the end of the day it will be the owners and the board of directors that will decide the best way forward."

There is a strong belief that Chelsea's next set of accounts will be their best yet with losses dramatically reduced to a point where they are close to breaking even. "It's phenomenal to win this [Champions League], but we're now looking to win more. Some clubs have got three or four stars on their shirts, we have one. The ambition is to keep moving things forward. I said two in five years when I took over the role. That hasn't changed."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games