Maybe Fernando Torres’ recent good form is about to open a new door at Chelsea and allow him to re-establish himself as one of the elite forwards in European football. A goal and an assist in his last two games was not only a relief for the Spaniard, but also for admirers who might have resigned themselves to a permanent lull for Torres in English football. But at the same time, maybe this good form is just enough of an incentive to spark a fresh bid from a likely suitor. A move to Spain—specifically to Malaga—could be the perfect platform to help Torres forget the last year at Stamford Bridge.
Parachuted in to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea team over 12 months ago by an owner who should be much further away in the background, there was never an opportunity for Torres to find his form and become the centre-piece of a team like he was at Liverpool and Atletico. The presence of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and the rest of the old guard at Chelsea made it impossible for Torres to receive the kind of status a striker of his quality should receive. In hindsight, Torres never really had a chance at Chelsea.
By comparison, Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly the top dog at Manchester United, in spite of Javier Hernandez’ excellent first season in English football and Dimitar Berbatov’s ability to provide when called upon. Robin van Persie’s captains armband at Arsenal is symbolic of his importance and value to the team—something even a returning Thierry Henry couldn’t take away—and Lionel Messi, Edinson Cavani and Mario Gomez are among a host of top goal scorers who are rightfully given the confidence and afforded the belief that they are the tip of the sword for their clubs.
Yes there could be an opportunity for Torres to be given that position should Drogba depart the club in the summer, but let’s be honest: how realistic is it that Roman Abramovich will be happy to depend solely on Torres for goals with only Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku as the alternatives? A move for Gonzalo Higuain may eventually come off, and even if it doesn’t, Torres would still have to battle the past season and a half of poor form. In this case, a move away from Chelsea is probably the best option for the Spanish striker.
Malaga, meanwhile, have made no secret of their desire to compete in the long term with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Moves for Santi Cazorla and Jeremy Toulalan have added quality to a side who were strangers to the top half of the table. But the striking options available at La Rosaleda don’t scream title contenders: Salomon Rondon is not a player who will get a team 20 goals a season and Ruud van Nistelrooy was always seen as a back-up and someone to add experience to a new-look side. A move for a player of Fernando Torres’ calibre is exactly what the team need. A player who is well versed in the Spanish league, has a number of international colleagues who would help him settle, and certainly no shortage of playmaker options in either Cazorla or the youngster Isco.
While a bigger name club might be more fitting for a player like Torres, even considering his recent slump in form, Barcelona have no place for Torres, Real Madrid is never an option due to their rivalry with Atletico, and Serie A may represent too much of a gamble at this stage of Torres’ career. But the chance to become the main attraction is certainly there at Malaga; a team who need that wow factor and a lot of drive if they’re looking to build on a possible top four finish this season.
Much like other teams around Europe who are backed by financial muscle, Malaga are capable and willing to spend big. They’ve shown their patience with Manuel Pallegrini despite a period of difficulty this season, and the club owners are much more likely to patiently see out their long and short term plans unlike Torres’ current employers.
A move to Andalusia makes much more sense than the recent proposed move of Torres to Anzhi. Above all, it will give Torres the environment he needs to be one of the best, and rotating in and out of the side at Chelsea was never going to help his cause. The striker needs to know that regardless of his performances he has the trust of his club and supporters. A level of trust that obviously fluctuates at Chelsea.
Is he capable of once again becoming the superstar who arrived at Anfield in 2007? Of course. But the possibility of that happening at Chelsea is extremly unlikely.
Torres seems to have been given an injection of confidence and motivation since Roberto Di Matteo took over as Chelsea manager, but the player needs and deserves a clean slate. Malaga would be the perfect opportunity to start again.