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Tuesday 29 July 2014

Olympic ace Campbell reckons he could help Torres hit top gear

FORMER Olympic sprint champion Darren Campbell has claimed he could solve Fernando Torres's goalscoring problems for Chelsea.

Campbell, who won gold in the 4x100m at the Athens Games eight years ago, believes Torres needed just a fortnight's specialist training to recover most of his lost pace.

Torres worked with Campbell in his first year at Stamford Bridge, prior to the departure of Dr Bryan English as Chelsea's medical director during Andre Villas-Boas's reign.

Interim manager Rafael Benitez suggested on Tuesday that Torres needed to do gym work to regain his explosive power and Campbell, a sprint coach in football and rugby union, said: "It's something that is best done in pre-season but I think Fernando just needs two weeks when he hasn't got to worry about playing on the Saturday and just put in a nice two-week training programme that I think would definitely bring the majority of his speed back.

"I'm sure I could fix him. It doesn't have to be a lengthy process as these guys are already extremely fit. That's the great thing about working with footballers and rugby players. You're not having to worry about the base fitness so you just go in and teach the raw speed.

"In the case of Fernando, I think he would also probably need to do a bit of weightlifting as well as the running and the speed drills to put some power back into his muscles. That's why sprinters lift weights, to gain that explosive speed and power."



RECALL

Chelsea have not ruled out bringing Romelu Lukaku back from his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, where he has scored five Premier League goals this season, one more than Torres, but there is a feeling that the Belgium international's development would be best served by seeing out his season there.

Lukaku, 19, has made significant steps at West Brom but the club believe that they may need a more experienced player to see them through the final five months. Much will also depend on whether they beat the odds and get through to the Champions League knockout stages next week.

While Torres's goalscoring form has been poor - he has just four league goals in 14 games - Benitez is not prepared to play him in every game, especially given the fixture pressure on the club. Providing they win their semi-final in the Club World Cup and their third round FA Cup tie, Chelsea will play 17 games in the next two months, starting with the trip to West Ham United on Saturday.

The Colombia international Radamel Falcao is the primary long-term target but he would take a monumental investment to sign in January with a ¤60m release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract.

Chelsea may look at a more short-term option than Falcao, especially if they are competing in the Europa League come January.



LINKS

The club have looked at Wilfried Bony, 23, the Ivorian who plays for Vitesse Arnhem, a club with whom they have a close relationship. Three Chelsea players -- Patrick Van Aanholt, Gaël Kakuta and Tomas Kalas -- are currently on loan at the club. Bony has scored 15 goals already for Vitesse this season and is the leading goalscorer in the Eredivisie. That he will be playing at the African Nations for most of January means that he is unlikely to be the quick fix required.

They have explored the possibility of bringing Didier Drogba back on loan from Shanghai Shensua but it is fraught with problems. He is playing for the Ivory Coast in the African Nations and the Chinese Super League clubs begin pre-season training in February.

Nevertheless, the striker has retained close links with senior officials at the club and was back at Stamford Bridge earlier in the month for the games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Liverpool. A move for Drogba was a consideration before the appointment of Benitez but there was the friction between the two when the latter was Liverpool manager.

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