When Fernando Torres, once one of the most prized assets of European football, signed for Chelsea in January 2011, football fans across globe really sat up to take notice.
Is was a move that largely came out of nowhere and had supporters of English football well and truly stunned as a result. No one expected Liverpool to really sell their main man, least of all to title rivals Chelsea, but for a British transfer record fee of £50m, it sounded as if coveted Spaniard’s career would go from strength to strength at his new club.
Dreams of pairing Torres with Didier Drogba seemed almost too good to be true, however, and the fact is that they ultimately were. Since ‘El Nino’ never rediscovered the form that led him to Chelsea in the first place, just who is to blame for the grand decline of Fernando Torres?
For one thing, the Blues most certainly have to take a fair share of the responsibility. With all the hallmarks of Hernan Crespo’s and Andriy Shevchenko’s previously ill-fated moves to west London, Fernando Torres joins a long list of high profile strikers who have failed to make a meaningful impression at Stamford Bridge. In making such a big money signing, and then seeing it subsequently fail as a result of their over-ambition, Chelsea robbed the Premier League of one of its main stars.
Torres was signed under the reign of Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge, but despite winning the league and F.A. Cup double in his first season with Chelsea, the experienced Italian was unceremoniously sacked amid claims that he had lost the dressing room.
Since Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo, Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho have all played Fernando Torres out of his usual striking position, preferring a Wayne Rooney-esque deeper role that allows other strikers to thrive up top.
How can a player go from a landmark record-breaking signing for the future, to a bit-part contributor who largely sees his play time restricted to the bench? Chelsea’s claim that Fernando Torres has become an ‘assister’ rather than a ‘goal-scorer’ just doesn’t hold up when compared with the role the Spaniard played at Liverpool.
Whilst Chelsea certainly didn’t handle the £50m saga in the best manner possible, Fernando Torres himself must also take his share of the blame.
The Spanish striker now plies his trade on loan in Serie A with AC Milan. Whilst the slower nature of the Italian league would seem the perfect surroundings for Fernando to rediscover his form of old, the former Liverpool No. 9 simply hasn’t settled in Milan either. Torres has bagged a meagre one goal in ten matches for his new club, and as a result of his poor league form affecting Milan’s position in Serie A, manager Filippo Inzaghi is reportedly close to terminating the striker’s loan deal in an attempt to land someone more effective.
It seems as though Fernando Torres just doesn’t thrive as the solitary striker, but somehow no one has yet recognised this notion by giving him a strike partner to ease the load.
A nostalgic move back to either Liverpool or Atletico Madrid may now be the only option left on the table to save Torres’ once untouchable career. Yes, he has several trophies under his belt, largely through the dominance on the Spanish national side, but the big money man is still nevertheless in need of a confidence booster at club level.
Such a daring move back to one of his former clubs would be a risk for sure, but as the situation for the golden Spaniard becomes increasing worse with every passing season, something of this nature may now be the only choice left to restore the Fernando Torres of old, and get him banging in the goals once more.