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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
Life and Style
techSweet Peach says scent 'shows more important things are working'
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
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

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible