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Will Fernando Torres be content to return to Chelsea's bench?

Rafa Benitez has said his striker will be happy to rotate in and out of the side if it's best for the team, but given Torres' past grumblings about his role at the club, could competition for his place see him leave the Blues?

Last summer, on the back of a fantastic Champions League and FA Cup double, Chelsea rebuilt their squad and style of play almost completely. They mostly undertook this by bringing in a slew of wonderful attacking midfielders to play in a dynamic 4-2-3-1 system but they also showed a tremendous amount of faith in the then misfiring Fernando Torres, letting Didier Drogba leave and sending Romelu Lukaku out on loan to unequivocally demonstrate to the Spaniard he was their number one striker.

A lot has happened since then, and although Torres is still failing to live up to expectations placed upon him by his £50 million price tag, he has found some kind of form at Stamford Bridge, especially recently under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.

Much of his problems have been linked with a lack of confidence, which was slowly being restored under his old Liverpool manager. However now Benitez has said that Torres will be happy to sit on the bench if it's in the best interests of the side, and given the reports linking Chelsea with plenty of strikers this January, Torres could be out of the starting eleven sooner rather than later.

Last season Torres largely played as a back-up to Didier Drogba, and the Spaniard did not react well to the role, grumbling about his future at the club on several occasions, with quotes from the striker after being benched for the Champions League final suggesting he was considering leaving. The situation is different now, Torres might even be glad of a rest having played almost every match this season, but in the long run he will not be happy to be second choice.

If someone like Falcao does join Chelsea, Torres could find himself quickly back in the position he was last season, and it is unlikely he would want to replicate that role. Benitez knows Torres well and presumably will be the best man to manage him through any rotation, but the striker has made it clear before he doesn't want to be second fiddle at the club, and if he struggles for starts in the second half of this season, you could see him leaving the club in the summer.

images: © Wshjackson, © wshjackson

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