What do Jose Mourinho's comments about Fernando Torres mean for the striker?
Following reports last week that Barcelona were considering a move for Fernando Torres, what at first appeared bizarre made at least a modicum of sense with a little more thought.
With the likely departures of David Villa and Alexis Sanchez, a substitute with a history (no matter how foggy) of goals and experience of La Liga would be a signing worth making.
But when the Spaniard reiterated his desire to remain where he is, it seemed his mind was made up.
“It’s always nice to hear about interest from clubs like Barcelona, but my plan is to stay at Chelsea,” he said.
And while I would argue that it is a bit more than “nice” to garner interest from one of the biggest clubs in world football, fair play to Torres for both knowing and stating his mind.
“I want to stay, I want to honour the contract I signed, keep winning titles and I’d like to be the best in the world in my position,” he told Spanish newspaper AS.
So it all seemed pretty clear: Torres wished to remain at Stamford Bridge where he has not been half as bad as some people suggest.
He hasn’t been great either, and certainly not anywhere near the best in the world. But he has pulled himself clear of the fate of being known as a complete failure with the help of an unwanted Spaniard, a mask, and perhaps most importantly time.
But following quotes from Jose Mourinho calling Torres “so-so”, will the 29-year-old be on his way regardless?
To put the new manager’s quotes into context this is what he said:
“Torres so far is so-so. Somebody could expect more because of his potential, because of what he did before. But not so bad as people sometimes try to say.”
So while it may not have been his death knell, it wasn’t a ringing endorsement either.
If he intended to increase the player’s confidence prior to the new campaign, he would surely have considered his words more carefully. After all, you sense nothing Mourinho says is by accident.
The manager’s comments sounded more like a thinly-veiled attempt at a sale. The selling point? He’s not as bad as people say.
Torres’s wish to prove his worth at Stamford Bridge is admirable.
But how appealing may the Barcelona bench be when compared with the Chelsea one…if he even manages that given the return of Romelu Lukaku, the presence of Demba Ba and the absolute certainty of at least one new striker arriving this summer?
Where do you think Torres will be playing next season? And can Mourinho still inspire him to greatness or is that the last thing on his mind?
image: © wshjackson