Chelsea legend Kerry Dixon is convinced Fernando Torres will come good this season.
Torres scored only once for the Blues following his £50m move from Liverpool last term and looked a pale imitation of the player so widely lauded as one of the best – if not the best – strikers in the world.
The 27-year-old Spaniard showed fleeting glimpses of his class, but one goal in 11 starts and seven substitute appearances was hardly the expected return for such a monumental outlay.
But Dixon, the second highest goalscorer in Chelsea’s history, is not concerned.
“He has nothing to prove,” the former England forward told West London Sport.
“If Torres gets a good start to the season he could score any number.”
“Torres is one of the best strikers in the world and just needs to get back to the kind of form he was showing when he was on top of his game at Liverpool.”
Torres scored within 30 seconds of coming on in the 2-0 win against Aston Villa in the Asia Trophy on Saturday.
And Dixon, who scored 193 times in nine years at Stamford Bridge, hopes Torres’ finish from Florent Malouda’s mis-hit shot could be the beginning of a goal-laden start to the season.
Dixon is a firm believer in the ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ theory.
“It’s all about confidence,” Dixon added. “It’s no secret that strikers need goals and if Torres gets a good start to the season he could score any number.
“He’s been doing okay in pre-season and the goal [against Villa] could be the turning point.”
That said, Dixon believes Torres and his fellow forwards will all have to accept watching from the sidelines at some stage, as new manager Andre Villas-Boas looks to challenge in all three domestic competitions, as well as the Champions League.
Long gone are the days when a couple of goals ensured your place for the next game.
Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka are both still at the club despite constant speculation that their time in west London was coming to an end.
And Daniel Sturridge enjoyed a superb loan stint with Bolton at the end of last season and is itching to force his way into the Chelsea side.
Sturridge starred for England’s Under-21s in Denmark during the summer and further pressed his claims with a stunning goal to wrap up the 4-0 win over Kitchee at Hong Kong Stadium.
Salomon Kalou is also desperate for a regular start and at times cut a frustrated figure as he was forced to sit on the bench despite a number of match-winning performances.
Keeping them all happy will be no easy feat.
Dixon said: “If you’re playing well, you like to think you will keep your place and it might be enough. But the modern football world means even playing well might not be mean you keep your place.
“Torres is just part of the squad – all of them have been used in pre-season and second guessing the new manager is impossible. They have played various formations and I expect there will be plenty of rotation used again this season.
“Anelka and Drogba both have contracts and both are on big money. If Chelsea wanted to offload them then anyone looking to buy them would have to pay some serious wages.
“Sturridge took his opportunity with Bolton at the end of last season and wants the opportunity to show what he can do at Chelsea, and Kalou is also desperate to play.
“They are all different players and all offer something different to the side. I expect all of them will play their part at some stage this season.”