Fernando Torres was worth £50 million in January 2010 when Chelsea bought the Liverpool striker who had scored 22 goals in 32 appearances in the 2009/10 season under Rafael Benitez.
Or so they thought – Roman Abramovich was keen to bring to the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge, seemingly at all costs and, after a £40 million bid was rejected by the Reds, £50 million got the owner his marquee signing.
However, the price-tag has weighed heavy on the 28-year-old’s shoulders for three seasons now. He scored one solitary goal for the Blues in his first season, 11 in 49 appearances last term and 15 in 44 appearances so far this year.
Chelsea have been furiously linked with a £40 million for another Athletico Madrid goal-machine in Radamel Falcao whose tally now stands at 26 goals in 27 appearances for the La Liga chasers.
Demba Ba was brought in from Newcastle after the world caught wind of the fact his release clause on Tyneside was a pittance at just £7.5 million. The Blues were happy to hand over the cash and he’s now scored 3 goals for his new club in just over a month.
Torres’ compatriot over at League Cup winner Swansea, Michu cost just £2 million and has now scored 19 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions for the Swans in his debut season in the Premier League.
Meanwhile top scorer in the league for the second consecutive year is Manchester United’s Robin van Persie who has now netted 23 goals in 32 appearances overall and cost United just half of what Torres cost Chelsea, begging the question: how much is Fernando Torres actually worth now?
The Blues will be lucky to fetch half his £50 million price-tag now – I suspect he may end up being used as a bargaining chip in the deal to capture Falcao but if he were to be sold outright he couldn’t be worth more than £20 million now.
There’s no doubt he does possess exceptional class – we’ve seen the best of him – but now he cuts a forlorn figure at The Bridge and his career has certainly taken a turn for the worse. He did help Chelsea win the Champion’s League last year and Spain to lift the World Cup and the Euro 2012 trophy at international level.
But, for a 28-year-old with a contract that runs until 2016 who has not been worth £50 million, Chelsea will likely have to take what they can get for him. I suspect he’ll be ousted this summer and I would also assume that would be in the player’s best interests as well.
£50 million is a reflection of inflated transfer fees and the fact he was bought in January but if Chelsea sell him this summer, I suspect they’d let him go for £20-odd million and, if he doesn’t get a return to Athletico Madrid, selling him onto a super-rich Russian club might be their best hopes of seeing a return on their investment.
image: © Ben Sutherland