David Gold told the BBC that West Ham had offered to take Torres on a two-month loan, but the approach was rejected.
They also asked Manchester City about the availability of former striker Carlos Tevez, in an attempt to bring him back to the club.
"We had two irons in the fire. If we'd pulled one off it would have been exciting but it wasn't to be," he said.
"At the time this was happening, we hadn't made any signings," said Gold.
"We weren't scoring goals and we felt that Torres was a bit out of favour at the time and we thought maybe Chelsea would let Torres go for a month or two to let him get his sharpness back. It was more of an enquiry than a bid.
"They were playing him as a bit-part. We desperately needed a striker and we also believed he would be lethal in this division so it could have been a good thing for both clubs."