LONDON — Fernando Torres has received backing from Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay as he looks to replace Didier Drogba as the club’s main goalscorer. Fellow striker Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa face the exit.
Torres spoke out following Chelsea’s Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, suggesting he had not been given enough chances to prove his worth this season. But with Drogba — who this week also backed the Spaniard to succeed next term — about to exit Stamford Bridge, Gourlay insists Torres has the club’s full support.
“We’ve got Fernando Torres. And Torres is the man that we will go forward with and he will score us the goals,” Gourlay said. “I have no doubt Torres is a world-class centre-forward.
“We’ve just won the Champions League and Torres played his part in that. It’s not all about goals. It’s not just about the individual scoring goals, his teamwork — he is a very important player.”
Gourlay also stated that if Chelsea look to bring in another striker this summer it will be to support Torres, not replace him.
One player already on the Blues’ radar is Lille starlet Eden Hazard. Chelsea, along with Manchester City and Manchester United, are in the hunt to sign Hazard, but Gourlay refused to speculate on the club’s chances of securing the Belgium international.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are set to release both Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa when their contracts expire in the summer.
The club was due to announce their retained list later yesterday and both names were likely to be omitted along with that of striker Didier Drogba.
Bosingwa had a one-year option on his contract at Stamford Bridge, but the club has opted not to take it up.
Kalou, an Ivory Coast international teammate of Drogba, signed from Feyenoord in 2006 for a fee believed to be in the region of £8m.
The 26-year-old made more than 250 appearances, including a start in Chelsea’s Champions League final victory against Bayern Munich on Saturday, scoring 60 goals for the Blues.
Bosingwa (29) was signed by the club following his performances for Portugal during Euro 2008 after Luiz Felipe Scolari, his then national coach, took charge of the club. The defender arrived from Porto for a fee of £16,2m, making 127 appearances during a four-year spell.