CHELSEA boss Andre Villas-Boas says he will turn Josh McEachran into a midfield great.
Stamford Bridge gaffer AVB says he will get to work on McEachran EVEN if he seals a deal with Spurs to bring White Hart Lane playmaker Luka Modric to west London.
The deal for the Croatian midfield player will be decided, one way or another, this week.
Chelsea have had two offers for Modric refused in the close season, with Villas-Boas showing no signs yet of giving up in his quest to land the darling of White Hart Lane. But McEachran is AVB’s ace in the hole, the new Blues boss knowing that even if the Modric deal falls through, he is on to a winner with the stick-thin teenager.
AVB took time out yesterday to discuss concussion victim Fernando Torres – hurt playing for Spain against Italy in a friendly on Tuesday night.
Torres has been passed fit to travel with Chelsea for today’s Premier League opener at Stoke, with Villas-Boas pouring scorn on critics who believe Torres has lost his goal-scoring touch. And while the £50m hitman occupies some of this thoughts, AVB is happier to discuss the future of bright young thing McEachran, who made 17 appearances in a Chelsea shirt last season and is still only 18.
Talking about Oxford-born McEachran, Villas-Boas said: “This is a youngster with so much talent.
“Physique-wise, there is nothing to him at the moment.
“In the changing room you see him getting ready to go and train and he looks nothing like a footballer. His power and pace is in his head.
“But you could say the same about Luka Modric, Jack Wilshere or Samir Nasri. All are built with slight physiques but they are all among the finest midfield players in the world.
“Josh is going that way. His brain is always five yards ahead of the rest.
I see in him very much as part of the future of this club.”
A glowing reference from the new coach, yet Villas-Boas also knows he needs to bolster his squad with more experienced blood.
He told the Daily Star Sunday: “I need a midfield player as a priority, also a winger.
“These are important to this club and I see business being done but it will not be at the expense of players like Josh.”
Villas-Boas was in expansive mood on the eve of his Premier League managerial debut against FA Cup finalists Stoke.
He has a healthy regard for the blood, sweat and tears Potters boss Tony Pulis has used to create a battling football outfit that plays until the final whistle, whatever the competition they are in.
Despite describing Pullis’s team as “magnificent”, Villas-Boas is intent on heading back down the M6 with three points in the bag as he goes after his double goal of the Premier League and Champions League in his first season at the helm.
Outlining what he is being asked to achieve as Abramovich’s seventh boss in seven years, he said: “Failure is not an option for me.
“I have spoken to Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and I know what he wants.
“I also know what I want and that is success. The only pressure on me is what I put on myself.
“I want a team that plays good football but I also want a winning team.
“Last year for this club was complex. Small problems became big problems. I hope we can all sort this out.
“I will be judged, like all Premier League managers.
“There is no pressure. The only time I have felt pressure was managing Academia in Portugal.
“There I was trying to avoid relegation with a group of players who gave everything but really were not in the same class as the players here at Chelsea