Chelsea open to further arrivals at Stamford Bridge

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The Independent Football

Andre Villas-Boas has revealed there could still be comings and goings at Chelsea before the transfer window closes.

The Blues have signed only youngsters to date this summer and have so far failed in their efforts to bring Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric to Stamford Bridge.

The only player to leave the club, meanwhile, has been Yury Zhirkov, prompting fears the Blues are standing still while their rivals flash the cash.

New manager Villas-Boas is confident his current squad is strong enough going into his first competitive game in charge at Stoke on Sunday.

But the 33-year-old said that did not mean there would be no further personnel changes over the next 19 days.

"We are happy with the squad we have at the moment going into the Stoke game, and we're in maximum condition to bring back the three points," said Villas-Boas.

"Nobody in the Chelsea dressing room is under evaluation. We're assessing what we have in the market. We're happy this is what is happening for Stoke."

Villas-Boas, who has been discussing transfer targets with owner Roman Abramovich, added: "This doesn't mean that we won't be adding up to the 31st. That's what we've been discussing throughout with him."

Villas-Boas refused to comment on whether Chelsea had or would make a third bid for Modric after they saw offers of £22million and £27million rejected.

He was also coy about his eagerly-anticipated starting XI for tomorrow's game, particularly whether Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres would lead the attack.

Torres was expected to be fit despite suffering some memory loss after being concussed in Spain's friendly defeat in Italy on Wednesday.

One thing that looks certain is that he and Drogba will not be partnering each other.

"We favour a 4-3-3 formation and that's what we're focusing on," said Villas-Boas, who suggested Nicolas Anelka could even be asked to spearhead the side.

Should Romelu Lukaku put the finishing touches on his move from Anderlecht, that would give Chelsea a surplus of forwards.

"In the end, that's a sector where we have a lot of options," said Villas-Boas, who sidestepped the question of whether any of his strikers would now be sold or loaned out.

"If we decide to bring more in, or take a decision on the players we have, we will make that decision."

Almost as much attention will be focused on Villas-Boas himself as his team selection this weekend.

The Portuguese is not only the youngest manager in the top flight but he is also arguably under the most pressure, with his job seemingly dependent on delivering at least one trophy in his maiden season.

It is a challenge he is ready to embrace.

"I just want to be first," said the former Academica and Porto boss.

"We look for excellence and look to win back the title that escaped us last season.

"We'll do everything in our power to win it back. We've had a good pre-season and everyone is feeling excited to coming back to competitive games. Hopefully this first challenge is important.

"Stoke away, one of the magnificent teams of the Premier League."

Villas-Boas has also faced inevitable comparisons with fellow Portuguese Jose Mourinho, who he previously worked under at Stamford Bridge.

John Terry admitted yesterday even he could not help but notice similarities.

Villas-Boas said: "It would come from all sectors, from my players, from the media.

"I don't have enough personality to copy people. I express myself as I am.

"It's for others if they see a certain coincidence in that. I've lived with it through my short managerial career. I have no problem with it."

Age has also been a constant theme since Villas-Boas' appointment, both for the manager and his players.

He said: "People are obsessed with age. 'The players are old and the manager is young'. You have to be, at any age, competent enough to be successful. I think we're competent enough."

But what about nerves for a man who is a relative newcomer to management.

"No, I was nervous at Academica. From then on, I've been pretty much looking forward to it."