Former Blackburn and Bolton boss Sam Allardyce believes Chelsea’s £50 million deadline day swoop for Fernando Torres was motivated by Blues owner Roman Abramovich’s desire to finally lay his hands on the Champions League.
Since taking over at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2003, Abramovich has presided over the most successful period in Chelsea’s history - one which has yielded three Premier League titles and five domestic cup trophies.
European glory, however, has proved elusive for the West London club, despite reaching the semi-finals five times in the last seven seasons and losing the 2008 final on penalties to Manchester United.
Allardyce, currently unemployed after being dismissed by Blackburn last December, is convinced the timing of the Blues’ transfer spree which brought Torres to Stamford Bridge is proof that their Russian billionaire owner is desperate to capture the one trophy which is missing from his collection.
Speaking to Yahoo! on behalf of the League Manager’s Association, the 56-year-old said:
“The ultimate goal for Mr Abramovich has always been to win the Champions League, and it is the first thing on his list now because it has eluded him for whole time he has been in control of Chelsea.
“Winning the Premier League might be beyond them after the result [against Liverpool] at the weekend, so the Champions League is now the major focus.
“Adding players in the window will increase their abilities and give them a chance to go further in that competition particularly.”
Torres endured a miserable debut for the Blues against his old club Liverpool last Sunday, being substituted on 66 minutes after failing to make any sort of impact as his former team-mates inflicted only a second home defeat of the season on the Premier League champions.
The abject nature of the 27-year-old’s performance has left many in the media questioning whether Chelsea’s marquee signing can gel with his new team-mates, but Allardyce remains convinced the move will motivate Torres to get back to his best form.
“Torres will be a long term outstanding success for Chelsea,” he said.
“He is in the prime of his career as a 27-year-old and got the move he wanted which will inspire him to get back to the form he was in at Liverpool when he first arrived.”
Sam Allardyce was speaking to Yahoo! on behalf of the League Managers Association. Visit The Dugout at www.yahoo.co.uk/sport
By Liam Twomeycomments