at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
When it comes to signing strikers, Chelsea bring them in through the front door for record sums and then boot them out of the back.
Fernando Torres returned to London in the dead of night with the rest of the Chelsea team and he might just as well have cleared his locker and be done with it.
When Jose Mourinho can’t trust a £50million forward to start a game against Paris St Germain in a Champions League quarter-final tie, it doesn’t look good.
Even Mourinho’s body language in the technical area, after he had put him on midway through the second half, suggested his time was almost up. Andre Schurrle had started this first leg tie ahead of him, promoted to play as a false No 9. What a mistake.
For Torres, sat glum-faced on the substitutes’ bench, it must have felt like the end. The bitter end. Sure, Schurrle has been in decent nick of late, scoring in the 6-0 victory over Arsenal on March 22 from his preferred position out on the right.
Yet, last night he turned sole striker, thrust into the role because of Samuel Eto’o’s hamstring injury and the continuing, unfathomable, form of Torres.
He had started Chelsea’s last Champions League trip, opening the scoring in the Turk Telekom Arena in the 1-1 draw with Galatasaray. Since then, he has been anonymous.
The Chelsea forward has scored three times in this season’s competition and that’s not nearly enough for Mourinho.
He came on just before the hour when he replaced Schurrle, but there wasn’t even a final word of encouragement from Mourinho. It pretty much says it all. This is a problem position for Chelsea and they have been through the card over the years when it comes to signing strikers.
Roman Abramovich has signed some of the world’s best and it can’t just be rotten luck that they have all, by and large, failed him.
Under various managers, systems and set-ups, Chelsea have brought in Hernan Crespo, Mateja Kezman, Adrian Mutu, Andriy Shevchenko and Torres in the Abramovich era.
None of them have turned out well. Chelsea’s owner craves a goal- scoring hero, the type of player the supporters can idolise.
With the exception of Didier Drogba, and to a lesser extent Eto’o, they have struggled to succeed with one of European football’s powerhouses.
For those who saw Torres at Crystal Palace on Saturday, his miserable performance did for his chances of starting here.
Or anywhere, for that matter
Chelsea’s next big signing is currently playing in Spain and they are convinced Diego Costa will be slipping on a blue shirt next season. Boy do they need him.
Costa will be different, or certainly that is the theory, as Chelsea continue to send a scout to monitor his every move for Atletico in the final stages of the season.
He has scored seven times in the Champions League this season and will be an awesome signing if Chelsea can prise him away from the Vicente-Calderon.
That has to wait. Between now and August 16, the start of the new season, Chelsea will soldier on with what they have. There’s a possibility that Eto’o, who came off with an injury after opening the scoring against Arsenal, will return for the second leg on Tuesday.
Without him, they left the door open for Laurent Blanc’s team, and they walked straight through it.– Daily Mail