A Fernando Torres in his prime is something every Arsenal fan would love to see at the Emirates. But that Torres is long gone, now replaced by a shadow of the player who once lit up the Premier League and could be considered the best in the world.
There is work to be done for both Arsenal and Torres, and off the bat it is far from a partnership that could work. The lack of patience for the Spanish forward would be astonishing at the Emirates, only likely to further his underwhelming performances and lack of cutting edge in league games. How far do we go in entertaining this rumour that was thrown out over the weekend? Arsenal have been linked with everyone there is to name ahead of this summer; why wouldn’t someone throw Torres’ name in the hat just for kicks?
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But the issue here is that Torres does need a move away from Chelsea and away from English football. He won’t line up for Real Madrid, for reasons beyond his diminishing status in the game, while even Barcelona and their apparent need for a Plan B would seem a stretch.
It wasn’t too long ago that Torres himself claimed to be returning to his best. What he defines as “best” I’m not quite sure, but it’s far from what he produced in his debut season at Anfield. The pace is gone but surely the intelligence hasn’t deserted him too. Torres should still be capable of scoring 20 league goals in a season if he adapts his game and, importantly, people stop baying for something comical. The Premier League as a whole won’t be so kind.
Napoli is another club who have been linked with the Spaniard, though that could just be due to the convenience of Rafa Benitez taking over at the San Paolo this summer. Much like at the Emirates, how would those in Naples greet the idea of Torres replacing the possibly outgoing Edinson Cavani? It just amounts to another dead end for the striker, unless of course he can muster a season-long effort that resembles something above a decent striker.
Torres would have been one of the most disappointed by Spain’s loss to Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup. For long spells in the game, Julio Cesar had very little to do. Juan Mata, likely through fatigue, had one of his worst and most ineffectual games in recent memory. But Torres is seen as the senior striker in the squad, even ahead of David Villa, who often plays wide when Torres is in the team. It only takes a poor season from him and a very good one from a collection of his compatriots for him to be completely out of the squad for next summer’s World Cup. He surely knows that, Vicente Del Bosque, who has stood by the striker through difficulties, can surely not be so kind after the Confederations Cup exposed a number of weaknesses.
A move to Arsenal for Torres would simply represent a half-hearted attempt by the club’s board to rectify the glaring problems and appease the fans. Torres is as big a name in European football as you’re likely to get; he’s won the lot bar a league title. But his arrival would be such a far cry from what Arsenal actually need. It would be hugely underwhelming to go into a season with your marquee signing being propped up by the ropes after a near-disastrous last two seasons in English football.
I question how keen Atletico Madrid would be to taking him back, though the obvious bond between the player and club could disguise his shortcomings. AC Milan are unlikely to look to a striker who is nearing his 30th birthday after they made it quite clear that youth is their policy going forward. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a good club on the continent for Torres, nor does it mean he can’t be an asset somewhere. Yet the obvious clubs that spring to mind are not the best fit, while Torres himself needs to get as far away from the damaging nature of English football and repackage himself ahead of what should be another enormous summer for him and Spain.
Would Torres be a disaster at Arsenal or is it a match made in heaven?
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