Fernando Torres is finished. He turned 30 only last month, but his best days are way behind him.
Yet there is interest in the Chelsea striker, and not from an also-ran club in a minor league with modest ambitions either.
Italian giants and 2010 Champions League winners Inter Milan have confirmed that they are keen on signing the Spain international in the summer.
The Nerazzurri are in a rebuilding phase and want to give the once great and feared striker a chance to rejuvenate himself.
The pressure will be intense in Serie A, especially with the club’s new president Erick Thohir keen on making Inter real contenders for the Scudetto once again. Since Jose Mourinho’s departure in the summer of 2010 following an historic and emotional season, the Milan club have gradually lost their competitive spirit.
However, Torres has a better option than Inter, as his boyhood club Atletico Madrid have hinted that they would welcome him back with welcome arms.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone told Spanish radio station Onda Cero this week: ‘Fernando is always with us, obviously I have sent messages to him, he is very happy with everything that is happening to this team, he is always present, wishing us luck. Of course he would love to come back to the club he grew up in and where he was very happy’.
With star striker Diego Costa set to leave for Chelsea, Torres has the perfect chance to establish himself as a first-choice centre-forward for the club he grew up at. Atletico fans have always loved and cherished the striker they affectionately called ‘El Nino’ (The Kid) and would readily welcome him back.
It was after Torres left Atletico in 2007 that the Spanish club began to achieve success. Top-four finishes, victories over Real Madrid, Champions League exploits and Copa del Rey triumph have all come while the Spaniard has been experiencing mixed times in England.
It is unlikely that Torres will regain his Liverpool form even if he moves to Atletico and plays under a brilliant manager like Simeone. However, there is every chance that he will be given the right environment to reinvent himself. The Madrid outfit have now gained some stability, while at Chelsea he had to play under a number of managers since his move from Liverpool in January 2011.
Torres needs to feel loved and be given confidence. He looks lost at Chelsea and is ridiculed by many supporters, perhaps justifiably. After all, the Blues paid £50 million for him and have received fewer Premier League goals in three-and-a-half years than Luis Suarez has scored at Liverpool in 29 league appearances this season.
With Atletico on a high and full of enthusiasm, this would be a good time for the 30-year-old to go back and ride the wave of optimism.
It is time for the prodigal son to return home.