Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has declared he will not rest until he makes Fernando Torres one of the best strikers in the world again.
Torres is in danger of being branded the most expensive flop in football history, having scored just five goals for Chelsea since his £50million January move from Liverpool. Reports this week claimed Chelsea had already lost patience with the Spain striker but Villas-Boas on Friday insisted Torres was "not for sale at any price", now or next summer.
Indeed, the Blues boss insisted he was on a mission to ensure Torres came good, even if the striker's struggles continued until this time next season. Villas-Boas said: "I think so. This is a talent that is never in doubt. So we have to be very, very patient and I'm sure that we can turn this around."
Villas-Boas, who last month admitted he and his coaching staff would have failed if they did not make Torres a success, added: "We'll have to continue to push. That's one of the prerogatives of the manager, to try to get the best out of everybody. It takes time."
Torres looks set to be given that time when Didier Drogba goes on African Nations Cup duty in January. But with Drogba's recall having played a major part in Chelsea's revival in recent weeks, Villas-Boas can ill-afford to drop the Ivory Coast star in favour of a player who he admitted was lacking "belief" and "confidence".
Villas-Boas revealed Torres was performing increasingly well in training and the hope appears to be that he carries this into whatever playing time he is given over the Christmas period, something that would help ensure he is not struggling when he gets another extended run in the side.
Villas-Boas was confident Torres would rediscover his form but admitted he needed goals to do so.
"I think it comes with self-confidence and motivation and hitting the back of the net," he said. "This was happening for Fernando in the first two or three months of the season. It has been Didier's run at the moment but we are pretty sure that Fernando will return strongly again."
He added: "A player who wears the number nine lives for goals and a player who is a striker lives for goals. Didier and Fernando and (Romelu) Lukaku and (Nicolas) Anelka can tell you exactly that.
"Strikers are the most selfish people in the world and they rightly so because they like to put the ball in the back of the net. This will help his motivation eventually."