Spain striker has nothing to gain from staying at Stamford Bridge after Mourinho's bombshell
It is little more than a month ago that Torres credited his manager Jose Mourinho for his resurgence in the early weeks of the season.
In the space of a few weeks, the Spaniard scored a later winner against ManchesterCity, hit a brace against Schalke in the Champions League and produced his best display in a Chelsea shirt in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
It was in light of the 2-1 win over City at Stamford Bridge that Torres said: “I am feeling good with high confidence, and feeling better in the system we are playing with more space.”
He has scored one goal in six appearances since that day, against Crystal Palace last weekend. And this week, the manager who has been credited with returning Torres to somewhere near his best delivered a brutal verdict on the former Liverpool striker.
“When he has the ball on his feet with the back to the goal, he's not a very skilful player, we know that,” Mourinho said. “We are not saying 25 or 30 goals because our strikers are not these kind of killers, but two goals for each one of them is too short.”
It is hard to argue with Mourinho’s analysis; Torres has indeed scored just twice in 12 games in the Premier League this season. Despite flashes of quality that suggest he could one day reproduce the form of his golden days, he appears no nearer to finding consistency.
The problem for Torres is where he goes from here. He is, effectively, playing for a manager who has little belief in his goal-scoring ability, and, regardless of the truth in Mourinho’s assertions, that cannot be good for the striker’s confidence or state of mind.
Frustration has been evident, not least in the catty scratch of Jan Vertonghen’s face which earned him a one-match ban - Torres looks a player who has fallen out of love with football.
The reasons for his loss of form – which actually began towards the end of his time at Anfield – are probably complex. Chelsea’s style and tactics have often been highlighted as ill-suited to Torres’ game. At the same time, a little of the pace has disappeared, as has much of the explosive unpredictability which once made him the terror of defences.
It is difficult to see what he would gain from staying at Chelsea – silverware, perhaps, to add to the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup he has already won with the Blues.
But the personal accolades have dried up in recent seasons, and in his heart Torres must yearn to play for a club where he is the pinnacle of the side, rather than a squad player.
Who would take him? Torres would have no shortage of admirers in Europe. Atletico Madrid, his boyhood club, showed interest in re-signing him towards the end of last season.
Torres will be 30 in March, and his next move may well be one of his last. For the good of his career, that move must surely come either in January or at the end of the season.
image: © wshjackson