Fernando Torres’ Chelsea nightmare could finally be on the verge of being brought to an end. The Spanish striker, signed for a then British record £50 million transfer fee from Liverpool in January 2011, is reportedly closing in in a move to AC Milan. Torres’ agent, Antonio Sanz, is believed to have met with officials from the Italian club on Thursday and reportedly told MilanNews.it that “The meeting went well. Torres joining Milan is a real possibility.” According to Italian transfer expert Gianluca di Marzio, will now head back to London to negotiate a severance package with the Blues.
Torres has endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge, and has been unable to recapture the form he showed earlier in his career. However, moving the 30-year-old on has proved a difficult task due to his sizable salary; an issue that could yet complicate a transfer to Milan.
While Torres’ departure would solve Chelsea’s problem of having one too many foreign players to register for their Premier League squad, José Mourinho appears intent on bringing in a replacement. That desire is understandable, given that 36-year-old Didier Drogba is currently the only natural backup to Diego Costa. The Spain international has also picked up a muscle injury that reportedly could keep him out for up to six weeks. Here are four strikers Chelsea are believed to be tracking.
Radamel Falcao (Monaco)
The prolific Colombian goal-scorer has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge for more than two years, and surprisingly that speculation has now resurfaced. The Guardian has reported that the Blues are interested in taking Falcao on a season-long loan. It is widely thought that the former Atletico Madrid striker is unsettled at Monaco and could be secured for a year at a cost of £20 million, with Arsenal also linked. That would be an extraordinary sum to pay for a loan move, however, especially in Chelsea’s case, given the £32 million just spent to sign a new first-choice striker. Surely only were Costa’s injury problems to prove more serious would a move for Falcao even become a realistic prospect.
Mattia Destro (Roma)
The Italy international scored 13 goals in 20 Serie A appearances for a Roma side that finished second last season and is “top of Mourinho’s wish list,” according to the Daily Star. Ironically, it is believed that Milan were pursuing Destro before turning their attention to Torres. Perhaps it was Roma’s £20 million asking price that dissuaded Milan and it could be that valuation which ultimately prevents s a transfer to Chelsea. Will the Blues be prepared to pay that much on for a backup and would Destro be willing to accept such a role? Arsenal could also provide competition.
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Loic Rémy (Queens Park Rangers)
Rémy would be a considerably cheaper alternative, with the French forward having a release clause to allow him to join a Champions League club for a relatively meager£8.5 million. Liverpool had agreed a transfer for that figure earlier in the summer but then surprisingly backed out of a deal at the last minute, reportedly after that player failed a medical. There is little doubt that Rémy, who scored 14 Premier League goals on loan at Newcastle United last season, is keen to play at a higher level and may well accept not being a regular in order to do so. The former Marseille man can also operate in wide positions, yet doesn’t have the same strong physicality that Mourinho generally requires from his strikers.
Wilfried Bony (Swansea City)
Bony definitely fits the mold of a Mourinho striker and has predictably earned comparisons with his fellow Ivorian Drogba. After a prolific spell in the Netherlands, the 25-year-old showed he could succeed at a higher level when striking 16 goals in the Premier League. There has been repeated speculation all summer that he could be lured away from Swansea, but their manager Garry Monk said just this week that there has yet to be one offer for him. A likely transfer fee of over £20 million means he is unlikely to be headed to Stamford Bridge.