I probably lost quite a few fans at the title. Perhaps some are reading simply to tell me how much of an idiot I am. But the prospect of sending Fernando Torres on loan to West Bromwich Albion could be exactly what both the clubs and the player need.
Romelu Lukaku’s season at The Hawthorns was an unbridled success. So much so that the prospect of Chelsea allowing another temporary move next season – though very much touted by the media – is surely inconceivable.
The now-20-year-old didn’t just score 17 Premier League goals this season. He made himself at home. He looked like a top flight striker. And whoever takes over at Stamford Bridge this summer, be that Jose Mourinho or otherwise, they will surely have the Belgian in their first-team plans.
While at least one new striker is almost certain to arrive when the transfer window re-opens, Lukaku shouldn’t be shunted down the pecking order as a result. He needs to be given first-team opportunities before he gets tired of being underappreciated. Otherwise there will be plenty of clubs both here and abroad more than happy to offer him a new home.
Lukaku has shown he can score consistently in the top flight. Despite Torres’s recent renaissance, the Spaniard has not.
Yes he has rediscovered some goal-scoring form, but a return of eight strikes in 36 Premier League appearances is just not good enough. And it doesn’t warrant a place ahead of Lukaku, Demba Ba, or the as-yet-unnamed new arrival/s.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke has already spoken of his wish to take the prolific Belgian back on loan next season. But could the former Chelsea assistant manager alleviate any disappointment in missing out on Lukaku by moving instead for his 29-year-old teammate?
Despite recent reports of interest from Napoli, Torres has been vocal in his wish to remain at Stamford Bridge for the duration of his contract. But surely that is on the proviso that he plays.
So here is the solution: a year spent at The Hawthorns as a regular starter – to regain his scoring form in the league – and then a return to Chelsea the following year, as a rejuvenated player.
Chelsea will no doubt reap the benefits of Lukaku’s year away. And despite being at the opposite end of his 20s, there is no reason a similar move for Torres can’t be just as successful.
I won’t have won you all over. Perhaps I didn’t get anyone onside. But Torres won’t be Chelsea’s first, second or possibly even third choice striker next season.
But he could be the first name on the Baggies’ team-sheet. And it may turn out to be one of the best moves he has ever made.
Do you think Torres should be loaned out next season...or sold? Or will he get the first-team opportunities at Chelsea?
image: © Ben Sutherland