Recent transfer windows have had a certain air of predictability about them. Like the inevitability of long nights and cold mornings as winter rolls around, since Fernando Torres’ arrival at Chelsea the questions in the succeeding transfer windows have always been the same; will Chelsea cut their losses, and who would be mad enough to actually take him off their hands?
The decline of Torres as a footballer over the past two years has merited much discussion. Has he lost that explosive yard of pace that made him such a nightmare for defenders to deal with on the turn? Has he lost the confidence to round the keeper and finish? Does he miss the arm-round-the-shoulder influence of his compatriot Rafael Benítez? Has he simply lost his hunger for the game? Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Fernando Torres is not the same player that took the world by storm whilst playing for Spain and Liverpool in the mid to late 2000s.
With the sacking of Roberto di Matteo, Torres has now seen five managers sacked whilst he has been a part of their team; Benítez and Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, while at Chelsea the duties of Carlo Ancelotti, André Villas-Boas, and the unfortunate di Matteo have been dispensed with. Although it is unfair to say he had a hand in the sacking of Benítez and Hodgson (he was mercurial under the former, and injured for much of the latter’s tenure), you would be hard-pressed to find someone who did not draw conclusions from Torres’ misfiring form and Abramovich’s sackings of three undoubtedly talented managers.
Yet it may be a blessing in disguise for Torres and Chelsea that the two are currently in each other’s service. Chelsea have been continually linked with players from Torres’ former clubs; Radamel Falcao of Atlético Madrid and Luis Suarez of Liverpool. A swap deal plus cash between Chelsea and either team may be the answer for the parties involved; Suarez or Falcao would be moving to a club who have just become European champions and who possess an owner with an insatiable desire for global recognition. Torres would be welcomed at a club who previously idolised him. Atlético or Liverpool would be reclaiming a club-legend, money, and a proven (if out-of-sorts) striker. And of course, Chelsea would be acquiring one of Europe’s most coveted marksmen.
However, with the aforementioned sacking of di Matteo, don’t bet against new Chelsea boss Benítez reinvigorating Torres, and leading the club to reclaim the Premier League title and conquer Europe. Sounds unlikely?
So did sacking a Champions League winning manager with his team third and still in contention for every competition they have entered this season.