Fernando Torres Offers Honest Assesment of Chelsea Career After Announcing His Retirement

?Former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has spoken out about his two and a half year spell at Stamford Bridge, coldly claiming that the Blues were little more than the team who delivered him trophies.

The 35-year-old spent time reflecting on his career following his announcement that he would retire this summer, ending an almost 20-year career at the highest level of professional football.

After speaking in glowing terms about the likes of Liverpool, Atlético Madrid and even his most recent side Sagan Tosu, Torres told AS (via Sport Witness) that his spell at Stamford Bridge was simply a way of ‘giving me what I always longed for; the titles.’

Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torre

Torres signed for Chelsea during the January transfer window on 2011, switching to west London for a fee which has since risen to €58m.

He made 172 appearances for the club and was responsible for one of their most iconic moments when they won the Champions League in 2012, rounding Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés to book their place in the final with a 92nd-minute goal.

He was brought on in time for the penalty shootout against Bayern Munich, but Torres didn’t have to test his nerve from 12 yards in the end as misses from Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger allowed Didier Drogba, to score the decisive spot-kick.

Throughout Torres’ seven-year career in England, the Spaniard made 212 appearances in the Premier League for Chelsea and Liverpool combined.


Although he wasn’t able to become part of the infamous 100 club – he scored 85 top slight goals – Torres is fondly remembered for being one of the Premier League’s best ever players, especially during his time at Anfield.

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Premier League: Predicting the ‘Big Six’ Starting XIs for the Opening Day

?It’s safe to say that the summer transfer window hasn’t truly sparked into life yet, particularly for the big six Premier League sides.

Fortunately for us fans and those sides still looking to make a number of major signings, there’s still someway to go before the season gets underway on the 9 August.

With potential transfers, injuries and all other factors considered, here’s how the Premier League’s elite sides could lineup for their first outing of the 2019/20 campaign.


Manchester City

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?Ederson, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Harry Maguire, Benjamin Mendy, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero.

Given their dominance last season – accumulating a total of 98 points – it’s unlikely that City’s squad will look vastly different at the beginning of next season.

They’ve been heavily linked with a couple of big money signings. Leicester City’s powerful centre back Harry Maguire is a key target to become a consistent partner for Aymeric Laporte following Vincent Kompany’s exit, while Atletico Madrid’s Rodri is likely to replace the ageing Fernandinho.

A couple of months off and some pre-season fitness work should allow Benjamin Mendy the time to return to full fitness following an injury stricken beginning to life at the Etihad in time for their first match.

Further up the pitch, Bernardo Silva, Sterling and Aguero have established themselves as the preferred front three, meaning the likes of Leroy Sane will have to settle for a spot on the bench or even depart the club before the window closes.

Liverpool

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Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino.


The first noticeable aspect of this lineup will likely be the exclusion of any potential transfers. Liverpool largely impressed last season, finishing a point behind City and ?winning the Champions League, thus limiting the number of deals they’ve been linked with.

The greatest difference can be seen in the heart of the defence. Joel Matip has performed well alongside Van Dijk but it’s likely that Gomez will establish himself as the Dutchman’s first choice partner after returning from a long-term injury.

Given Milner’s workman-like attitude and the possibility that squad fitness won’t be at it’s peak, he may well feature in centre midfield for the opening match, likely seeing Fabinho drop to the bench.


Chelsea

Christian Pulisic


Kepa Arrizabalaga?, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Christian Pulisic, Willian, Tammy Abraham.


Chelsea too can’t expect too much change given their ban from buying players, with the greatest change being Eden Hazard’s absence following his move to Real Madrid.

Oliver Ntcham,Tammy Abraham

Christian Pulisic will almost certainly replace him in the starting lineup and he could be joined by youngster Tammy Abraham following Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus, whilst Willian is also bound to start given Callum Hudson-Odoi’s serious injury.

Potential managerial target Frank Lampard would likely offer more opportunities to Chelsea’s other upcoming stars like Mason Mount – who he coached at Derby – but given the fact that nothing is set in stone, we can assume Chelsea will have a similar team to which ended last season; at least for their opening match.


Tottenham Hotspur

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Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Harry Kane.


Mauricio Pochettino regularly alters his formation, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he will choose four at the back next season, with Alderweireld ageing and constantly being linked with moves away, whilst Kieran Trippier is also rumoured to be leaving.

Nonetheless, most of their potential purchases can be seen in midfield. With Victor Wanyama increasingly growing out of favour and Christian Eriksen likely to join Hazard at Madrid, it’s no surprise that Spurs are chasing Giovani Lo Celso.

A new-look midfield could play behind an established attack as Son and Lucas Moura both proved their worth at times last season.


Arsenal

Kieran Tierney


Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, ?Eder Balanta, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.


It’s looking like it’s going to be a difficult transfer window for Unai Emery, who is only reportedly being give around £45m to spend on any potential deals.

The defence could look somewhat different. Shkodran Mustafi has suffered his fair share of criticism so it would be a surprise if he were to start the first game next season, with the club being linked with a number of alternatives like Eder Balanta, who could be available for as little as £4m.

Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal have already had a bid rejected for Celtic’s Kieran Tierney but it also seems like he would also be available for a relatively low fee, and would be a perfect replacement for Nacho Monreal. 

And while the Gunners have been linked with a series of attackers, including ?Crystal Palace’s ?Wilfried Zaha, almost all of which are far too expensive making it difficult to see how any deal could be completed. This may mean others like ?Mesut Ozil feature more regularly in a narrower formation which utilises wing backs.


Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka


David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Ruben Dias, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.


In truth, it’s difficult to predict how ?Manchester United might lineup for their opening game, because they seem to be linked with every player under the sun.

A deal for Aaron Wan-Bissaka does seem to be nearing completion though, while it’s largely accepted that the heart of defence also needs improving.

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Links to Benfica’s 22-year-old Ruben Dias have arisen with a deal potentially happening before his current club are able to increase his release clause.

?Paul Pogba’s likely return to ?Juventus could leave space for a new creative midfielder like Bruno Fernandes to play behind a pacey front three which will likely include Welshman Daniel James.

?Marcus Rashford looks set truly establish himself as the first choice central striker as ?Romelu Lukaku’s potential move to Inter edges ever nearer.


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Frank Lampard Granted Permission by Derby to Open Talks With Chelsea

?Derby County have confirmed that they have granted permission for Frank Lampard to speak to Chelsea about their vacant manager role.

Lampard has long been the favourite to take over from Maurizio Sarri, who left to join Juventus, and it now appears that the Blues are closing in on their man

In a post on their ?official website, ?Derby wrote: “Derby County Football Club can confirm that they have granted permission for ?Chelsea Football Club to speak to Frank Lampard about the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge.

“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions.

“The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.”

Frank Lampard,Jody Morris,Chris Jones

Lampard is expected to return to Stamford Bridge with his assistant Jody Morris, who enjoyed several successful years as part of the coaching staff at Chelsea’s academy, and coach Chris Jones, who also spent time with the Blues in the past.

Furthermore, ?Sky Sports add that Chelsea have agreed to pay the £4m compensation clause in Lampard’s contract with Derby, clearing the way for the 40-year-old to return to the club.

Chelsea’s pre-season begins with a trip to Japan on July 19, and the Blues will be eager to have everything tied up by then, to allow Lampard plenty of time to work with his new squad.

Frank Lampard

He will not have transfers to worry about, with the Blues set to serve a two-window transfer ban after breaking regulations in relation to the signings of international minors, so Lampard will likely be forced to look to the academy or to the vast number of players out on loan to bolster his squad.

Both he and Morris have extensive knowledge of the youngsters at Stamford Bridge, which is thought to be one of the most important factors in Chelsea’s pursuit of the pair.

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Exclusive: Premier League Quartet Interested in Chinese Goalkeeper After Toulon Scouting Mission

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are preparing to rival some of Europe’s biggest clubs in the race to sign Chinese goalkeeper Chen Wei.

The 21-year-old currently plies his trade in the Chinese Super League for Shanghai SIPG, but has struggled to dislodge Chinese number one Yan Junling from a starting role.

Chen is yet to make a first team appearance for Shanghai, but his huge marketing potential is an obvious incentive to any potential suitors.

90min understands that he was watched by scouts from City, ?United, Chelsea and ?Arsenal at the recent Toulon Tournament – which he was voted as the competition’s best goalkeeper – but the Premier League quartet were not alone in watching the rising star.

Scouts from ?Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Ajax were also present in France, with a transfer tug of war now set to play out for the remainder of the summer.

Though there is no indication at this stage where Chen sees his future, he is unlikely to turn down the riches of a big money move to Europe – with worldwide recognition and exposure guaranteed if a transfer goes through.

Indeed, commercial revenue sales from Asian markets are known to be big money spinners for Europe’s biggest clubs, so concluding a deal for Chen makes sense off the field financially, as well as on it.

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To date, Chen has made 11 appearances for China’s Under-23 side, impressing more and more with every performance. He is a graduate of Shanghai SIPG’s youth academy, spending seven years rising through the ranks before earning a place in the first team squad.

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Tammy Abraham Admits it’s ‘Now or Never’ for Him at Chelsea Following Transfer Ban

?Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham has admitted his excitement at the Blues’ one-year transfer ban as it means the club’s youngsters are likely to receive more first-team opportunities next season.

The Londoners were embargoed by FIFA after being found to have breached regulations regarding the signing of Under-18 players from overseas, a problem that was compounded by Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid in early June, with Chelsea currently unable to sign a replacement for the Belgian superstar.

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The 28-year-old’s departure means teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi will have a chance to stake his claim for a starting berth, while other Blues academy graduates will also benefit from the temporary block on new arrivals.

Asked by the Daily Mail whether the transfer ban could prove positive for the club, Abraham – who spent the last two campaigns out on loan – said: “That’s how all the young players at the club are looking at it.

“There is a great chance for us, so we must get our heads down in training and go for it. I have already been talking to the club about pre-season; I’m going to have a couple of weeks and then come back hitting the ground running.

“I really do feel I am ready for the Premier League,” the former Aston Villa striker affirmed. “There is no better time for a young player to be at Chelsea. I am going to give it my all.

“This year is the most important year for us. It is now or never. There will never be a better time to play the youngsters. The transfer ban is not what the club wanted but for us it is exciting.”

Tammy Abraham

Discussing Blues legend Frank Lampard, who remains favourite to be named as the new boss at Stamford Bridge, Abraham said: “If it was him to take over the job, it would be great. I believe in myself and there is no better guy to play under as well: someone you have grown up watching, been at Chelsea forever.”

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