22 May 2012, 09:32
Torres going nowhere, say Chelsea
LONDON. May 22. KAZINFORM Didier Drogba has confirmed he will leave Chelsea this summer but Fernando Torres will not be following his fellow striker out of the club despite the Champions League winners' hierarchy having been left distinctly unimpressed by the timing of the Spaniard's publicly expressed frustration at life as a bit-part player at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba is expected to join the money-flushed Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, who could offer wages of up to £250,000 a week, after telling France Football magazine that he broke down when telling his team-mates that he will be moving on.
The 34-year-old said he did not "envisage sitting on the bench watching others play at a time when the club is looking at putting together a new team" - and it appears this fresh Chelsea will have room for Torres, who within hours of the European Cup triumph voiced exasperation at playing second fiddle to Drogba.
The Spaniard claimed starting on the substitutes' bench that night represented "perhaps the biggest disappointment of my life" and called for clarity from the club's management as to what role he is to play in the future. No meeting is planned with either Torres, who has since departed for a holiday on Ibiza ahead of linking up with the Spain squad, or his representative, though there was dismay among club officials that such a high-profile player should potentially sour the otherwise buoyant mood.
Torres's comments, delivered in the mixed zone at the Allianz Arena as the players departed the stadium still digesting their victory, came with Drogba's eight-year spell at Chelsea drawing to a close. The Ivorian's contract will expire next month and he told France Football: "We [he and his team-mates] will not be together next season," he said. "As I have decided to leave, I wanted to tell them to their faces, Kazinform has learnt from the Guardian.
"They made me break down. I found it hard to admit that it was finished with me and the club. But I don't envisage sitting on the bench watching others play at a time when the club is looking at putting together a new team. So there we go, I am readying myself for a great leap into the unknown. It will be another adventure."
Drogba's departure will have implications for Torres. The Spaniard, who has scored 12 goals in 67 appearances for the club, is not agitating for a move despite suggestions of interest from Málaga and will not be sanctioned for his comments. Ron Gourlay, Chelsea's chief executive, in an interview with Sky Sports News, put the outburst down to emotion.
"Everybody wants to play and I would be very surprised if Fernando [hadn't]," said Gourlay. "I'm sure he wanted to play more games, and more time on the field as every professional player does. But it's the emotion of the time as well, the biggest day in our history. You've got to take these things into account."
Gourlay's most pressing task remains the appointment of a long-term successor to André Villas-Boas with the interim first-team coach Roberto Di Matteo's contract due to expire on 30 June. The Italian, who transformed the club's season over his 11-week stint in charge, will effectively be left in limbo into next week as Roman Abramovich and his board consider their next move. A list of candidates has been drawn up and is still headed by Pep Guardiola, who will leave Barcelona after the Copa del Rey final but intends to take a one-year sabbatical from the game. Fabio Capello, Laurent Blanc and Harry Redknapp would come under consideration.
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