Russian giants Anzhi Makhachkala are reportedly ready to bid for Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, according to the Mirror. The Spanish international has had a dismal period at Stamford Bridge since his £50m transfer from Liverpool last season, with only 19 goals in 114 appearances for the club.
The Russians are managed by Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who was in charge of the Blues briefly in 2009 as caretaker, leading them to that season's FA Cup. The 66-year-old retains close ties with club owner Roman Abramovich.
Hiddink is expected to resign from his post in Russia at the end of the season (Anzhi are currently third and trail leaders CSKA Moscow by three points). However, any future move for Torres will happen regardless, because Brazil and Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos is also keen on bringing the Spaniard to Russia.
"Nobody from Chelsea has told him he will be sold but it's normal that the club are not satisfied with his performances. But the person affected most by all this is the player. Nando is conscious that he is not offering his best level," a source close to Torres was quoted as saying in the Mirror's report.
The Blues have had a poor season so far, the highlight of which was the sacking of Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo, and are in danger of becoming the first defending champions ever to exit the tournament in the group stages. As part of the revival plan, rumours have suggested a complete overhaul of the striking department, which never adequately replaced club icon Didier Drogba when he left in the summer.
Among the players recently linked with Stamford Bridge are Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle and Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv's Brazilian forward Taison. Meanwhile, the club's young England international, Daniel Sturridge, is being linked with a move to rivals Liverpoool. The most high-profile target believed to be on Chelsea's list is Spanish side Atletico Madrid's Colombian forward, Radamel Falcao.
Meanwhile, Chelsea were beaten 3-1 by West Ham in the weekend's Premier League fixture, making it seven league games without a win and heaping pressure on interim manager Rafael Benitez. The former Liverpool manager was appointed after Di Matteo's sacking and has only been in charge for three games. However, since those games have ended in two goalless home draws and this away defeat, the Spaniard has confessed he would not be surprised if he were fired.