If there is one Chelsea player who stands to gain the most from the departure of Didier Drogba it is Fernando Torres.
Former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair is confident the Spaniard, who cost $79m from Liverpool in 2011, can fill the vacancy created by the Ivoirian’s transfer to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.
It will not be an easy task as Drogba’s eight years at Stamford Bridge saw him score 157 goals in 341 matches as well twice winning the English Premier League Golden Boot. He also collected 10 winner’s medals ranging from the European Champions League (1) and the Premiership (3) to the FA Cup (4) and League Cup (2).
Currently working for Chelsea TV, Sinclair who accompanied the team on their recent US tour said “Didier Drogba was one of the best players ever to play for Chelsea. When he left I could not think of another player in Europe who could do the job he did. However he has moved on and the team has to do the same.
“Fernando Torres now has the opportunity to become the main striker, the main goal scorer at the club. He will be full of confidence after helping Spain win Euro 2012. Fernando is no longer in Didier’s shadow and this season he has the platform to show his critics that he is a world class player.”
Time to shine
There was much criticism at the tactics employed by Roberto di Matteo in winning Europe’s leading club competition.
The team’s first corner kick in the final against Bayern Munich came in the 88th minute from which Drogba headed in the equaliser. The same player then slotted home the winning penalty.
The majority of the headlines the next day centred on Drogba’s contribution in what was his last game for the club. However it is easy to forget that in the previous round it was the much maligned ‘El Nino’ who came off the bench and sealed victory against Barcelona.
Sinclair, who represented Jamaica at international level, also believes the 28-year-old Torres will personally benefit from the club’s recent acquisitions, mainly attacking midfielders Eden Hazard and Oscar for a combined fee of close to $94m.
He added: “Didier was often left alone in the opponent’s half. He had more of a physical presence and his teammates played to his strengths. However the dynamic of the team will change as new faces have come in. The likes of Hazard and Oscar like to play on the ground so their style will suit Fernando as he likes to be on the shoulder of the last defender.”
Torres should not be lacking in confidence.
He has returned to England after helping his country secure the Euro 2012 title. He was also awarded the Golden Boot for his goal scoring exploits in Poland and Ukraine. Already he has found the back of the net against Manchester City in the Community Shield and many of his supporters will be hoping there will be more to come throughout the season.
Meanwhile Sinclair also predicts a bright future at the club for Islam Feruz. The young Somalian, who was known as the ‘Scottish Wayne Rooney’ moved to Stamford Bridge from Celtic last year.
“I call him the pocket rocket” says Sinclair.
“I saw a lot of him during the FA Youth Cup and he was instrumental in Chelsea winning the trophy. He scored some fantastic goals. He has speed and is very direct. There are high hopes for him. Hopefully by next season he will be knocking on the first team door.”
Source: Al Jazeera