When Fernando Torres steps on the pitch at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to close the 2012-2013 season against Everton, it just might be his final match for Chelsea after two and a half weird seasons, which have included plenty of titles, but not enough of goals, as the Blues consider selling the most expensive player in the history of British football.
Torres cost Chelsea £50 million back in January 2011, bringing the Liverpool striker as he hoped to be playing for a clubs that strives for more than the sinking ship he was on, while offering him a lot more money. While during his Liverpool tenure Torres was considered as one of the best strikers in the world, putting up impressive numbers even through injuries (scoring 81 goals in 142 matches), things went a little bit different for him at Chelsea.
This season, he has scored 22 goals in all competitions (63 matches), but his Premier League tally has been stuck on 7 since December 2012. And that’s still a better production than the one he had last season (6 goals in 32 matches). So far, Torres has scored only 34 goals in 130 matches; way too low for the most expensive striker in the history of football.
Some say that he wasn’t treated fairly. In and out of the lineup doesn’t help build confidence, and Torres, we’ve learned these past few years, needs to feel confident in order to play well. But Torres has had plenty of chances. He just hasn’t seized them; in the league at least.
Europe has been a different story, especially this season – Torres scored in the Europa League final, making it 9 goals in 16 matches this season. He’s part of Chelsea’s history now – a winner of both the Champions League and the Europa League in consecutive seasons, playing a very big part in the triumphs, even when he didn’t score.
But it might not be enough to save his job. Chelsea are eyeing Edinson Cavani, and are looking for someone to take Torres off their hands. His salary and his presence might not be welcomed anymore, and it’s hard to believe he’s going to want and spend most of the time on the bench next season. Chelsea need a more productive finisher if they are to hang on in the title race a bit longer than they did this season.
Chelsea are willing to sell him at £30 million, hoping that will come in instead of their signings of Cavani and Andre Schurrle. Looking at the transfer market realistically, it’s hard to believe any team with that kind of money to spend is willing to purchase Torres and pay him the salary he’s been given these past three years. Maybe one of the rich Russian clubs (Zenit or Anzhi), but even they might be reluctant to spend so much on a 29 year old striker who has been under-performing and disappointing on a consistent basis since arriving at Stamford Bridge.