Zola: Torres needs time

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola believes the club’s £50 million signing Fernando Torres will need time to settle in at Stamford Bridge, but has no doubt the Spaniard will ultimately prove a fantastic signing for the Blues.

Injuries and loss of form have resulted in Torres showing only flashes of brilliance over the last 18 months, and he has so far failed to score for Chelsea in six appearances since his January deadline day transfer from Liverpool.

The 26-year-old’s performances for the Premier League champions have attracted widespread criticism, but Zola believes it is the responsibility of the club to get the best out of their new signing.

Speaking to Yahoo!, the 44-year-old said: “With Torres it's not just about him, it's also about Chelsea finding a way to deploy him at his best. I believe that Torres is not playing his best football at the moment, but he's a striker that moves in a way that is beautiful.

“I've no doubt that he will be an effective player, and he will be a player who'll make Chelsea stronger.”

Torres’ arrival at Chelsea in January formed part of a £70 million deadline day transfer spree bankrolled by Blues owner Roman Abramovich, which also included the capture of Benfica defender David Luiz, who has already scored twice for his new side against Manchester United and Manchester City.

Zola thinks the West Londoners may have to wait until next season for a significant return on their investment, and that further squad strengthening may have to be undertaken this summer.

“Fernando Torres and David Luiz arrived late, you know at the end of January, so I think they'll become very, very effective players next season rather than this,” he said. “Will they be enough? I don't know... I think maybe another player as well, in my opinion. Whoever is the manager next season, which I hope will be Ancelotti, will know exactly what to do.

“Chelsea will be competitive next year, no doubt about that.”

Visit the Dugout www.yahoo.co.uk/dugout for new interviews every week with England’s top football managers.

By Liam Twomey