Fernando Torres again showed some glimpses of a possible return to form against Manchester United on Sunday, but the absence of a goal means that Chelsea’s £50million striker has failed to find the net in well over 1000 minutes of football.
I read somewhere last week that Andre Villas-Boas had said that Torres’ time was running out and that he needed to get a goal soon and rediscover his form. The Chelsea manager has backed Torres and so he should, but Torres is only having an extended run in the team because Didier Drogba is at the African Cup of Nations.
When Drogba returns – if Torres still hasn’t scored – you would expect him to go back into the team. This would leave Torres, and Chelsea in a difficult position. The Blues may even decide to cut their losses and get rid of Torres, should a decent offer be received in the summer, but where could Torres go?
A return to Liverpool has been mooted and could work. If Torres returned for, maybe half the price, with his tail between his legs, I have no doubt that the Liverpool fans would take him back. However, this is not the Torres of three years ago. He is still a good player, but as I alluded to above, he hasn’t scored in 20 games for club and country, and he doesn’t striker fear into Premier League defences like he once did.
Returning to a place where he was adored by fans and team-mates alike may give his confidence the boost it needs. He could slot back into their team and forge a great partnership with Suarez but it isn’t as simple as this. Chelsea would want to recoup some of what they paid and Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, like us all, would need to be convinced that Torres can still be one of the league’s top strikers.
Another possible escape route for Torres could be a return to Spain. As an Atletico Madrid player and fan, he would need a lot of persuading to move to Real Madrid, but it is not out of the question. It never is where Madrid are concerned, if they decided that they wanted to give Torres a chance, it would be as good as done.
The other Spanish option is of course, Barcelona. Although it would seem Torres would be perfect for Barca, with the amount of chances they create. The striker also still has a bit of his old pace, which is deadly, particularly in Spain. I can’t see him going to Barcelona though, he isn’t their type of player.
They tried to have a big all-round striker before when they signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and although the Swede was good, he never quite fitted in and was shipped back to Italy within a couple of years. The way Barca play now, with Lionel Messi as the ‘false’ central striker would mean Torres playing a wide role, something which is even less likely to herald a return to form.
A surprise move could even be in store for Torres. It’s not absurd to think he could go the rest of the season without scoring and should Chelsea want to sell in the summer, his reputation would be in tatters. This could signal a move to a surprise club. I always thought that Torres would be perfect for Arsenal, the way Robin Van Persie is at the moment. The create lots of chances and often just need that little extra in and around the penalty area.
Arsene Wenger might see a great opportunity come June, to take a hapless Fernando Torres and restore him to former glory, in the process improving his Arsenal team back to Championship contender status? Maybe a bit to fairy-tale-like, but not out of the question.
Whatever the case, if Torres fails to find some sort of goal-scoring form before the end of the season, Chelsea will almost certainly try to cut their losses and sell him. The only thing is, there won’t be a very long queue of clubs ready to take a multi-million pound gamble.
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