After Chelsea’s draw today to Liverpool, there was much unrest on twitter about how the team was playing. Many pointed to Di Matteo and his inability to change a game when Chelsea get pegged back, with others choosing to direct their blame at certain players, with one gaining more attention than others. Fernando Torres.
The Spanish striker has really struggled to endear himself to the Chelsea fans, who have stuck by him for so long. During his first season and a half, any piece of skill or movement which brought a positive effect for the team, would be greeted with chants around Stamford Bridge of the Spaniard’s name. But the striker struggled to score goals in his first season and a half, playing in as system that was designed for Drogba, and which Torres didn’t seem to fit into, with his appearances in the 11/12 season being limited after the dismissal of Andre Villas Boas.
Then there were the mutterings from Torres after the Champions League final that he was unhappy, and that he felt that a number of promises had been broken that were made to him on his arrival. When other clubs may have chosen to show the striker the door, Chelsea came out with the dreaded vote of confidence, stating that this season the team would be built around Torres in order to help him. This was further backed up with the arrivals of Eden Hazard and Oscar for a combined fee of £57 million. Adding Mata to the equation, that’s £80 million worth of talent behind the striker.
This was a huge statement by Abramovich. He wanted to back his striker and give him the best chance to score goals and adapt to a system that would bring fast paced and exciting football, ultimately a very different Chelsea side. This made many Chelsea fans excited that they may well see the ‘Liverpool Torres’ finally at Chelsea with all of this service, with many backing him for the golden boot after his successful European Championships when he also won the golden boot.
But after 11 league games, there are signs that all are still not well with the striker they call ‘El Nino’. So far the striker has featured in 17 games and scored 7 goals. Now when you look at the raw figures, it seems as if the striker has been having a good season, with a goal every 2 games. But the Chelsea fans are getting increasingly frustrated with Torres, with many calling for a change up top. For fans, it’s not the fact that anyone’s questioning Torres’ work rate, it’s much more than that. Continually the striker looks to go out wide in order to receive the ball, or drops deep instead, which leaves no one on the shoulder of the last defence, which is where Torres should be. Too many times Torres tries to score ‘the perfect goal’, trying to take it past 3 defenders and trying a shot, when really he should be trying to shoot whenever he sees an opportunity.
Chelsea fans wouldn’t mind if every once and a while the striker had a shot from distance instead of passing, as after all this is what he’s being paid to do. It’s fair to say that the patience of the Chelsea fans is wearing thin, and the striker hasn’t exactly made life easy for himself. It almost seems as of the striker is scared of failing in front of goal, when once there was no fear in his Liverpool days.
Coming out with quotes such as how he didn’t care last season whether the team won or lost was really a slap in the face for the supporters who have stuck by the Spaniard over the last 24 months. There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by where we don’t hear another Torres quote or news article, whether it’s on how the team are playing or something like ‘his best is yet to come’. Chelsea fans want a striker who’s going to do less talking and more scoring.
There’s also the well known fact that Torres is a player who plays off of confidence. When he was at Liverpool, when he was fit, it seemed as if everyone he touched turned to gold. Why is this? Was Rafael Benitez really that big of an influence? Or is it the fact that Torres just still doesn’t seem to care about the Chelsea cause? There are many questions surrounding Torres, which cause hours of debate among fans.
There’s only so long that fans can stick by a player before they want to see a player start returning their faith with production in terms of goals. Maybe Chelsea fans are just missing Drogba already, and it must be so hard for Torres to know that he’ll never be held in their hearts as Drogba will, after all he did for the club, ending with his Munich heroics. Torres is apparently a striker who needs to be ‘loved’ in order to do well. He’s had more loving, and more time from the Chelsea fans than he would get at most clubs, and so you have to ask what more can be done? Why was it at the Euro’s everything he touched seemed to go in?
Eventually it seems that Torres will depart Chelsea, with the only question being when and to where. The continued mutterings about Radamel Falcao can’t be helping the Spaniard, but it does seem more and more likely after every game, that Falcao is bound for Stamford Bridge. With Falcao likely to come for a big price tag and expect to start every game, where does this leave Torres?
There’s been talk that Torres could be used as a counter weight in the deal, in order to bring the price down, not to mention the fact that the Spaniard clearly longs to ‘go home’. Atletico Madrid are, and always will be, Torres’ home, and it may well be that he feels it’s time to go back to a club where he knows there’ll be no pressure, due to the fans’ love for the player. The £50 million price tag hasn’t made life easy for Torres, with jokes and abuse being directed at the striker with every passing game where he didn’t score, but any world class striker would take matters into their own hands, and sort out their situation. It’s a sad fact that Fernando Torres simply isn’t world class anymore, and hasn’t been for some time.
So whether it’s in January or next summer, it seems rather inevitable that Torres will be on his way out, with the only question mark being who comes in for the striker, and who replaces him. The bookies favourites are Falcao & Cavani to come in, but it remains to be seen whether Chelsea are willing to spend big money on a striker again. Maybe this talk may be a little premature and Torres could go on to have an outstanding season and bring Chelsea a Championship this season. However, if it isn’t to be and Torres does depart, it’ll be the end of a 24 or 30 month soap opera that hasn’t been too beneficial for both parties, with many Chelsea fans remembering Torres for his goal against Barcelona in the Nou Camp, and not a lot else. Abramovich’s Torres experiment may well be over sooner than people thought. Watch this space.
Will Talbut - @WSTalbs870060