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, 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 Radamel 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, indicating that Rafa Benitez was brought in to help the Spaniard regain his form by ‘sharpening’ up the big centre forward.
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 ESPN has reported in the past that Abramovich won’t sanction the £48 million buy-out clause in Falcao’s Atletico Madrid contract, and the idea of using Torres as a makeweight loses credibility if he continues with his recovery.
Chelsea, though, are likely to 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.