You may consider a player who cost around £25m to sign from Atletico Madrid, may not really be considered a bargain price. However if you consider that this player is called Fernando Torres and that he is arguably the best striker in world football at the moment, then £25m for a player represents excellent value for money.
It is not just the money that makes Torres such an important signing for Liverpool. Prior to his arrival in the summer of 2007, Torres was a legend at his first club Atletico Madrid. Club captain and revered by the Vicente Calderon faithful, the club had rejected approaches from Chelsea and Newcastle United in the past in order to hang on to their prized asset. Torres scoring record for Atletico was good, in 243 games he scored 91 goals. However the feeling was that with better players around him, Torres would easily surpass that ratio.
The move to Liverpool gave him that chance and teamed him up with Steven Gerrard. His impact was immediate, 33 goals in his first season at Anfield was followed by 17 last season in an injury hit campaign. This year however, despite injuries once again punctuating his season, Torres has notched 12 goals in just 17 games. His record at Anfield is an incredible 62 goals in just 103 games.
To put that achievement in perspective, he is the quickest ever Liverpool player to reach 50 league goals for the club. Faster than Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and even Ian Rush. That is illustrious company.
Perhaps what makes Torres special is that he scores all kinds of goals. Like Roger Hunt and Ian Rush, Torres displays the penalty box predator skills that made them household names, however like Dalglish he is capable of moments of sheer brilliance that can inspire a team, as witness by this stunning strike against Blackburn last season;
In addition to his goals, what makes Torres such a bargain at £25m is his attitude. Although he may have a quiet demeanour in contrast to say, Didier Drogba, Torres has a fierce will to win. His workrate is exceptional and no cause is lost for him. Furthermore as he did with Atletico Madrid, he has shown unstinting loyalty to the Liverpool cause, repeatedly rebutting fiercely any rumours linking him of a big money move to Chelsea or Manchester City.
Finally, what makes Torres such a bargain buy is quite simply, his net value. In the press recently it has become something of a fashion to speculate on Torres leaving Liverpool. Certainly if the Reds fail to make the Champions League at the end of this season there are going to be plenty of wealthy suitors more than ready and willing to pay the asking price to land the striker and therein lies the real reason why Torres is a bargain in monetary terms. He cost Liverpool £20- £25m to sign in 2007.
For any club to sign him in 2010, the bidding would have to start around the £60m mark. If Cristiano Ronaldo is worth £80m, then you can bet a bid of £40m for Torres would be roundly laughed out of Anfield.
Not that Liverpool would consider selling him of course. Some players are priceless and some clubs won’t sell their best players, regardless of the money offered or the price they paid.
£25m for Fernando Torres? I don’t think you’d find a club in the world that would not have snapped Atletico Madrid’s hand off at this price.
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