I'd pay £50m for Torres today, says Villas-Boas

Chelsea manager backs misfiring striker to hit the target against former club Liverpool

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday admitted that the best days of Fernando Torres's
career thus far were those he spent at Liverpool, but the Chelsea manager is so
confident the most expensive player in British history can return to his best
that he maintains he would pay £50m to sign him now if necessary.

Since his acrimonious move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day last January, the 27-year-old Spanish international has looked a shadow of the player who set Anfield alight for three-and-a-half-years, scoring 65 goals in 102 appearances. In London, Torres, seemingly shorn of confidence and struggling to reach peak fitness, has managed just five in 30.

Though his manager is dismissive of those statistics – insisting his return of four goals in 12 games this season is "not too bad" – even the most ardent optimist would struggle to deny that Chelsea have not yet experienced Torres at his devastating best. Despite that, Villas-Boas is adamant his striker remains a valuable part of his team, worth every penny of that outlandish fee.

"Of course [he is worth £50m]," said the Portuguese. "Of course I would pay that for him again. He is one of the best assist-makers at the club, with four or five. He is assisting people and the team are getting wins out of it. Sometimes we do not get all the wins we want, but we get the goal-scoring opportunities to win games.

"You are isolating a year to form your opinion. The last four months, with the goals he has scored, it is not bad. A striker is not just there to put the ball in the net. He is there to perform and create. It is not just a question of numbers and goalscoring. It is about how you make your team perform around you.

"We create enough opportunities, whether we win or lose games. At the moment, our best goal-scorers are our two midfielders, so for them to finish, someone is creating. The team is scoring, so I am happy."

Torres, it seems, is not: in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca this week, the forward suggested he feels as though he "owes" the Chelsea fans after such an underwhelming start to his career at the club.

Villas-Boas is aware, as his striker is, that the 27-year-old has not yet been able to have the same effect on Chelsea's team as he did on Liverpool's, lending a prolific edge to Rafael Benitez's side after his £20.2m move from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007.

Torres's 24 goals in his debut campaign on Merseyside was a record for a foreign player's first season in the Premier League, and it was his goals which took Liverpool to the brink of the title in 2009.

"At the moment, Fernando's best days were his Liverpool days, in terms of goalscoring," said Villas-Boas. "But that is not to say those days will not come back. When a certain year goes better for you, you look for the good things you did. Those good things inspire you in a certain way, in your life or as a player. You have better moments or worse moments. It has to do with confidence and how you feel and relate to the team. Strikers live on moments of confidence.

"I am sure, with ours being as good as they are, they will eventually get it [back]. Fernando has picked up from last season, with his form, physically, his availability and movement for the team. He is back to his old sharpness."

Torres is expected to start against Kenny Dalglish's team at Stamford Bridge tomorrow – a match the striker feels Chelsea must not drop points in if they are to remain in contention to challenge both Manchester sides for the Premier League title. He may yet be joined by Didier Drogba, after the Ivorian returned to training following an operation on his elbow.

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, revealed yesterday that Chelsea's hierarchy had informed him there was "no place" in the club's structure for Guus Hiddink to be given a formal role. The Dutchman, who lifted the FA Cup during a brief spell with the club, was dismissed as Turkey manager after their failure to reach next summer's European Championship, leading to speculation he may return to Stamford Bridge as a director of football. "At the moment, there is no vacancy here," Villas-Boas said. "It is not my understanding from the club [that he might come in]. There is no place for him structurally."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions