Football: Mourinho ready for life without Torres

COBHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Jose Mourinho insisted Friday he wanted to keep Fernando Torres at Chelsea, but admitted he would allow the striker to leave Stamford Bridge if the right deal can be done.

Torres has been linked with a move to AC Milan during this month's transfer window after finding himself third choice striker behind Diego Costa and Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge this season.

Chelsea manager Mourinho, though, insisted the Spain forward - signed from Liverpool for a then-British record fee of £50 million (S$103 million) in January 2011 - has not yet told him he wants to leave.

The Portuguese boss has declared himself happy with the balance of his squad and maintains he does not want to make changes before the Sept 1 deadline, although he is adamant he needs three forwards.

"Fernando didn't speak with me," Mourinho told a news conference at Chelsea's Cobham training ground south of London on Friday.

"What we have clear, as a club, is that we need three strikers to face the season. He is one of them.

"I like him as a person," the Portuguese added. "I like him as a player. So if he wants to leave, it's something that he didn't say to me until this moment.

"Until this moment, he's our player and nothing more than that.

"If he wants to leave, in case if he wants, it's because he tries and wants to try a new life. A new club. Probably a new league.

"So if he wants to leave, which until this moment I have not one single word about it, I believe that it's to try to be happier than he was in the last couple of years.

"This is a very human club in the way the club approaches this kind of situation. If he comes to us in these last couple of days, any possibility would be analysed by us as a club and the best decision for him."

Mourinho will be forced to drop one foreign player from his squad after the deadline to meet Premier League regulations.

But a move for Torres will force Chelsea to respond in order to satisfy Mourinho's desire to have three strikers at his disposal.

"At this moment we are doing nothing because our belief is that the market is closed for us," Mourinho added.

"I've believed for a long time that the squad is closed. We have our squad, we like our squad.

"It's not the perfect one, because no squad is perfect. But it's one we like." Mourinho's side face Everton this weekend after winning their opening two Premier League matches.

And Costa could hand the Blues a boost by making an unexpected return after injuring a hamstring in training this week.

"We are trying everything for him (Costa) to play tomorrow (Saturday)," said Mourinho.

"He has to try a light training session to see if the reaction is positive. If it's positive, we'll take him to Everton to play or be on the bench."

Everton's attack is likely to be led by former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku who was allowed to leave in a £28 million move during the close season after spending last term on loan at Goodison Park.

"I think he's happy, and that's the most important thing," said Mourinho.

"He wants to be a very important player in a team. He wants to be first-choice all the time.

"He is a young kid and maybe his approach is the correct one, to play every game and feel important every game," Mourinho added.

"He has a big career in front of him.

"If he's happy, that's the most important thing."

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