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Fernando Torres can repay Chelsea £50 million by staying and becoming a legend

Fernando Torres has not repaid Chelsea the £50 million they spent on him by any stretch. But given time, he can.

Fernando Torres is at a crossroads this summer. Does he stay on and take his chances under Mourinho, or finally make his escape from Stamford Bridge.

Early indications are he may be willing to stick around, but reports in Italy have suggested he could even become a target for Rafa Benitez if the Spaniard takes over at Napoli.

When he signed for £50 million from Liverpool he was expected to be an instant hit, but it took him a painstaking 14 matches to find the net.

After that poor start he was always on the back foot, and has not lived up to his Premier League record price-tag.

It hasn't all been negative, Torres has had some big moments along the way - the memorable goal against Barcelona - and almost the entire Europa League run.

In fact Torres' efforts during the Europa League, much of which came wearing a protective mask for a facial injury, saw him become a bit of a cult hero.

When all was said and done, Torres' contribution had proved vital in Chelsea's season - scoring 22 goals in all competitions.

So what to the future?

Chelsea will bring in a top striker this summer, a marquee signing, and Romelu Lukaku will return, so Torres will not be an automatic first choice and have to battle for every appearance.

If he can accept that, then there may just be a place for him at Chelsea, not just next season - But into the latter stages of his career.

Torres is 29-years-old, and while he lacks the burst of pace which marked him out as a youngster, his predatory instincts remain and will continue to do so.

Many a striker have continued to blossom in similar circumstances - Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy two examples who continued to rack up goals at an astounding rate well into their 30s.

Torres can look to emulate that, by pledging his loyalty to Chelsea as long as they will have him. The club which showed so much faith in him, can have it repaid by his desire to stick around and score crucial goals in seasons to come.

Whether it be as an occasional starter, and in a super-sub role from the bench, Torres can re-define himself and become a truly unselfish player willing to be there for the team when called upon, a big game player with experience who can contribute when it matters.

With a team like Chelsea likely to push for trophies on a consistent basis, it is worth him sticking around to be a part of it, under a coach in Jose Mourinho who will push him to his limits.

If he chooses to stick around at Stamford Bridge, Torres can become a hero over the upcoming seasons, and finally repay that huge fee via his longevity, and who knows score a few crucial legend-making goals in the process.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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