There’s some kind of hollow hope that Rafa Benitez will be able to bring the best out of Fernando Torres following their successful partnership at Liverpool. That’s certainly got to be the view from Roman Abramovich, who has given enough evidence to suggest he doesn’t have any idea how football works.
The setup at Liverpool and now at Chelsea are greatly different. There are different areas of focus and differing styles of play. How do you get the best of out Torres, bringing about the form that saw him dominate in England while at Anfield? Is it wise to build the team solely around the striker following the vast sums of money spent on the attacking trident just behind him? Surely there’s got to be some leaning on the idea that not every player can fit into every system or team.
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I recently suggested that perhaps Fernando Torres would be able to reinvent himself as a different type of striker at Chelsea, one who is not so reliant on the devastating pace and clinical finishing that came with it. He’s still a technically excellent player; that certainly hasn’t been knocked out of him through injuries. But is Chelsea the best environment for the player to find a new dimension to his game?
Roman Abramovich seems intent to see Torres become a success at Chelsea, and he really only wants to see the Torres of Liverpool and nothing else. That much is clear by his insistence that every manager continues to play the Spaniard, regardless of form, and the expense which was taken to seemingly accommodate his transition to life at Stamford Bridge. The Chelsea owner really doesn’t want to accept that Torres is a flop following his £50million move.
Even if Torres was firing and playing well in this new system, would it put the rumours linking Chelsea with Radamel Falcao to bed? The squad was already rich with attacking talent, even following the signing of Eden Hazard, but they went ahead and brought in Oscar and strengthened further with Victor Moses. Having more than one good striker in a team is important, especially if they’re challenging on numerous fronts, but Fernando Torres’s confidence would surely not take well to having an opponent of better quality and form stealing the spotlight. Even if Chelsea did follow through with the purchase of Falcao, wouldn’t that just be an admission on Abramovich’s part that Torres was a failure?
So where does Torres go from here? Suggestions have been made that a move back to Atletico could be on the cards, but that is based on the assumption that Falcao is going to Stamford Bridge. I don’t believe that is entirely set in stone. The rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid haven’t totally gone away, and the club would find no better option than to replace the Portuguese with Falcao. The Colombian wants to be at Real, the club seem certain to be moving on one of their attacking talents come the end of the season, and the only thing really holding this move back is the rivalry between Atletico and Real.
But is there a club who could really afford Torres and give him enough room to be a success once again? PSG should be out of the question, as the player really doesn’t need to be in competition with Zlatan Ibrahimovic while trying to regain his form. Zenit could be an option, but they’ve just spent an enormous amount of money raiding the Portuguese league and are yet to see a return. Malaga, while once on the rise financially, have been cursed with an owner who seems indecisive in following up on his earlier promises.
Fernando Torres never really had much going for him at Chelsea, from the presence and influence of Didier Drogba, to the huge pressure of the £50million price tag. How many more managers will feel the burn of an underperforming Torres? How long can the player remain in an environment where he’s reportedly not at his happiest?
Chelsea will continue to chase Falcao or Edinson Cavani, but before they acquire a new attacking talent, they need to come to terms with the fact that Torres is not right for them. Cutting their losses seems the best option at this stage.