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Jul 22, 2011

Villas-Boas happy with strikers

Andre Villas-Boas has praised Romelu Lukaku but insisted Chelsea do not need to strengthen their attack.

Malaysia 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea close in on Lukaku
Cole and Anelka staying put
Blues to loan Courtois to Atletico

Chelsea are understood to be in talks with Anderlecht over the signing of Belgium international Lukaku, 18, who has long made clear his desire to move to Stamford Bridge.

There have been reports that the Blues would be willing to loan Lukaku out - potentially returning to Anderlecht until January - and Villas-Boas has now said that he does not feel the squad is in urgent need of further forwards.

"It's a player I know, obviously, and he had a magnificent season in Belgium, but I can't comment on the speculation about him," Villas-Boas said. "We are pondering every decision because we don't want to go into the market and make mistakes. Let's wait and see if it becomes a reality or not."

On whether he feels Chelsea need to sign another striker, he said: "I don't think we need to. We have plenty of availability in terms of forwards who can play in different positions - with Anelka, with Kalou, Didier, Torres and Sturridge. This is the reality at the moment of our squad. We need to find the correct balance and this is why pre-season is important."

Lukaku's agent, Christophe Henrotay, has confirmed a third-party investment group are looking to sign the striker, which would prevent him playing for a Premier League side following the Carlos Tevez affair.

"If the [prospective] new owners want him to go to Tajikistan, he can always refuse to go, but if they said he could go to Real Madrid, he'd do so happily," Henrotay said in De Standaard. "He'll always play where he feels happy."

While Villas-Boas has a vast array of big-name strikers at his disposal, questions persist over the form of Fernando Torres. The Spaniard endured another difficult day on Thursday as he drew a blank against in the 1-0 win over a Malaysia XI, but his new manager insists he is not concerned.

"I don't want to turn Torres into an obsession like you people are trying to do," he said. "I am not going to waste time over this. I disagree that he is lacking in confidence.

"Every time a player doesn't score, I am asked questions about him. I agree that Torres is a £50 million striker but my focus is purely on the performance of the team, not the individual.

"It doesn't matter who scores. These are pre-season games and they don't have the importance that some people think. The point of these games is to get a feel for your team and achieve your objectives in terms of fitness and training.

"To gain the confidence to find the back of the net, Torres needs training, tolerance and patience. It doesn't look like he is getting this at the moment but we are ready to give our forwards this patience."

Villas-Boas appears likely to adopt a 4-3-3 formation next season and, as Carlo Ancelotti found last season, it will be difficult to successfully accommodate both Torres and Didier Drogba in the formation.

"Again, the question of Fernando and Drogba not scoring together is an obsession for people at the moment," Villas-Boas said. "They will eventually perform for the team well enough for us to be successful. I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's a decision of the technical staff."

Meanwhile, Chelsea are believed to have agreed a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu.

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