On the 31st January, Chelsea acquired the services of Spanish striker Fernando Torres for an astonishing £50 million. This made him the fourth most expensive player in the history of the Premier League, a fact made more astounding by the fact that Torres had not been playing anywhere near his best for the first half of the season at Liverpool.
Roman Abramovich obviously thought that Chelsea’s players and style of play would be able to bring the best out of the new No. 9 and they would recoup their investment fairly quickly thanks to a significant number of goals from the forward. Quite simply, it hasn’t happened. Torres has scored only one goal for The Blues and has not yet fit into the Chelsea system or gelled alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka.
Torres, though, I’m sure can make a return to his incredible form of previous seasons but it is clear that Chelsea will have to make a few changes to their personnel and playing style in order to achieve this.
With the benefit of hindsight it is now easy for us to say that Fernando Torres was an odd buy for Abramovich and Chelsea. As well as the fact he was (and still is) out of form, it is clear that a strike partnership with Chelsea’s main man Didier Drogba was always going to be a tricky proposition. You see, Torres and Drogba are similar types of strikers, when at the top of their game. Both like to play from the front and benefit from great midfield service.
Both players are willing to drift out wide if needed but ideally prefer to be in and around the box. What aids both Drogba and Torres is a “creative striker”, a player who can drift wide and collect the ball from the flanks or who will draw the defenders away and leave their partner free to stay in that danger zone around the area.
Drogba had this with the likes of Anelka and Florent Malouda alongside him and whilst Torres lacked this at Liverpool for the first half of the 2010-2011 season, the signing of Luis Suarez during the transfer window was clearly intended as a skillful strike partner for the Spaniard. Perhaps Torres is now regretting his hasty decision to leave Anfield having seen Suarez play at Anfield. The Uruguayan is a player who would have brought the best out of Torres, in my opinion.
For Torres at Chelsea it has now become clear (as American 70’s pop group “Sparks” once sang) that “this town ain’t big enough for both of us.” Torres and Drogba cannot coexist at Stamford Bridge unless one is willing to act primarily as a substitute next season, which I very highly doubt.
Already Chelsea appear to be making moves to resolve this problem as reports now suggest that they are willing to accept any substantial offers for the Ivorian. This is a shame for Drogba as he has proven himself to be a real team player this season and has earned a lot of respect from fans and journalists alike for his attitude. Indeed, I was a critic of Drogba in seasons past as I felt his attitude was lacking and for a big, strong centre-forward his propensity to go to ground under any challenge was irritating.