Who will sign Torres this summer? Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan all feature.
Spanish forward Fernando Torres’ Chelsea departure appears almost inevitable. He has suffered harsh criticism in London’s SW6 and will be looking for a fresh start, maybe a little away from the hard-hitting British press.
Aged 30, Torres still has something to offer, although his return of 11 goals in 41 appearances last term is far from top draw. However, in an ironic twist of fortune, his form will certainly chip a few million from Chelsea’s asking price meaning his options will be plentiful.
Where might the 2012 UEFA Golden Boot Winner be best suited? And, perhaps more pertinently, which clubs are likely to take a punt? Let’s assess some possibilities.
A return to Liverpool
Might a return to Anfield be on the cards? Brendan Roger’s employed only two strikers last season, albeit with high success. However, he needs support for SAS, and returning loanee Fabio Borini could be heading back to Italy. Torres would play a backup role no doubt, but a backup role at a club where he was once cherished might appeal to striker, especially with Liverpool’s participation in the Champions League.
A return to Atlético Madrid
El Niño was adored by Los Colchoneros, and a return to the newly crowned La Liga champions might be ideal for both parties. Torres rose through the ranks at Atlético eventually scoring 82 goals in 214 appearances for the senior side. He would no doubt jump at the chance to return home, with Atlético looking for a Diego Costa replacement. It is also possible that Torres could be used to sweeten the Costa deal.
Not a terrible option for Torres. Veteran strikers Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry are still in the limelight across the pond, albeit in a relative step-down from the European game. The potential plus points for Torres outweigh the negatives: the high Spanish speaking contingent will enable greater familiarity sooner; he will be revered and celebrated as a star of the league; and, he can demand a greater salary than likely within Europe. He’d probably bang in a few goals, too.
Italian giants Internazionale are undergoing a squad overhaul, with a striker high on their list of targets. Reports suggest that Torres is their main aim, with the striker perhaps better suited to the slower pace of the Italian game. Inter technical director Piero Ausilio recently declared, “Torres’ career speaks for itself — the titles he has won and the teams in which he has played. It’s all about whether he has the right motivation and the desire to be part of a new ambitious project.”
He’s not wrong regarding the Spaniard's illustrious career. His trophy cabinet holds both a Champions League and World Cup winner’s medal – an achievement only matched by a select few.
Wherever Torres’ lands next, hopefully he can be inspired into the form of his mid-twenties, for the entertainment for football fans worldwide.