• Premier League

Torres form delays planned Falcao move

Harry Harris, ESPNFC
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Fernando Torres looked sharp against Sunderland on Saturday © PA Photos
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Fernando Torres has been put on a new fitness regime which could lead to Chelsea rethinking any attempt to sign Radamel Falcao in January.

Chelsea are keen to add to their strike force in the winter transfer window, particularly if Daniel Sturridge leaves for Liverpool, but it would only be as a stand-in for Torres - not to replace him.

It was suggested on Sunday that Chelsea had dispatched key representatives to Madrid to sound out potential transfer deals for Atletico's Falcao or Real's Gonzalo Higuain.

However an ESPN source said on Sunday: "If Torres will be back in shape, then Chelsea will not sign any new strikers."

Torres scored twice in Saturday's 3-1 win at Sunderland, ending a barren league run which stretched back more than two months. Interim manager Rafa Benitez was pleased with his compatriot in the aftermath, especially considering regular reports that he was brought in to help the Spaniard regain his form by 'sharpening' up the centre forward.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich's personal assistant Marina Granovskaia reportedly travelled to Madrid to discuss whether Falcao or Higuain could be signed in the January transfer window. But, as previously reported by ESPN, Abramovich won't sanction the £48 million buy-out clause in Falcao's Atletico contract - and the idea of using Torres as a makeweight loses credibility if he continues with his recovery.

Chelsea, though, could sell Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool and would then look to join Arsenal in the race for Newcastle United striker Demba Ba - who has a £7.5 million buy-out clause - as a stand-in for Torres.

Higuain, 24, is a long-term Chelsea target but the Argentinian would not want to swap a place at Real for a similar role at Stamford Bridge.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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