Chelsea's Torres purchase signals intent

BY foxsports • February 2, 2011

According to the history books and the club's supporters, Chelsea FC was founded in 1905.

Ask any other football fan and the answer you’ll receive will have a 98-year discrepancy.

The West Londoners, as most supporters of the Premier League will tell you, truly came into being in June of 2003 when the 50th richest man in the world, Roman Abramovich, decided that owning a football club was by far the easiest way to earn instant legitimacy.

That may stick in the craw of the Blues faithful, but the record books completely back up that statement.

From 1905 until 2003 BA (before Abramovich), Chelsea won nine major trophies at a mind-boggling average of just under one for each decade of existence. From 2003 until 2010, the story has been somewhat different, as the trophy cabinet at Stamford Bridge has added an extension or two with eight major trophies making the trip to the Russian’s favorite London dacha.

From the very beginning, Abramovich made it very clear to the ruling classes of English football that the playing field would no longer be level. He would be playing a different game. His game would be based solely on money and with that the ability to attract the world’s best players and managers.

The club's transfer record would be smashed repeatedly on the best-of-the-best as firstly, the loveable but hapless Claudio Ranieri tried to build an all-conquering squad. His replacement, Jose Mourinho, may not have been quite as loveable, but there can be no doubt that it was the ‘Special One’ who brought in the required mentality for success and, despite his acrimonious departure from the Bridge, that thirst for winning has yet to be fully quenched.

On the subject of being quenched, the trophy that has continued to elude the Russian despite a brief 2008 flirtation in Moscow is the one with ‘big ears.’ This, along with the advent of the economic crunch in 2007/08, did seem to curtail some of his lavish expenditure and his love of everything Blue. But on Monday, that all changed.

Roman Abramovich and Chelsea are back and they’re changing the rules ... again.

When you spend $114 million on two players in less than 24 hours you are sending a serious message to your competitors that money is no object when it comes to the burning desire of winning trophies. Whether this is good business or not, only time and silverware will tell.

It's hard to believe that Fernando Torres and David Luiz were bought to win the Premier League as that horse has already bolted the barn. The 10-point gap between the Blues and Manchester United is surely too large, however ‘big ears’ is a very realistic possibility.

This new lavish era truly begins on Sunday right here on the Fox Soccer Channel when Chelsea meet Liverpool for the 28th time in just over seven seasons (coverage begins LIVE on FSC at 10 a.m. ET).

Like lovers who know how to push each other’s buttons, these two know just where to poke and it appears that the Blues have finally managed to inflict a wound on the Reds that will leave a permanent scar. The teasing of Steven Gerrard in 2005 while irritating didn’t leave any lasting damage, but the poaching of Torres is another matter altogether. And although Liverpool fans will claim there are 80 million reasons why it doesn’t hurt -- I beg to differ.

Can you imagine the feeling of having your wife, your girlfriend, your best friend or maybe even your kids just up and leave you because someone came along with a bagful of cash and a couple of promises? All this after you’ve showered them with nothing but love and adoration even during the difficult times.

I’d feel used, dirty, outraged and perhaps a little foolish because I believe that you loved us more than you actually said you did. I also wonder looking at this behavior just how hard the Shed will fall for Torres?

Sunday will provide the answer and with Torres already making cooing noises about the match saying, “I will do my best and hopefully I can score," and "it is like destiny," an already explosive atmosphere will be raised up to levels we’ve probably never witnessed.

Over the past two years, Manchester City had pushed Chelsea aside as the economic force in England, but on Monday we saw Roman Abramovich eat his spinach, turn into Popeye and flex his muscles.

‘I yam what I yam ...’

Nick Webster is a senior writer for covering the Barclay's Premier League and the English national team.

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