When questioned on his Chelsea form, Torres had his own theory. He said in a recent interview: “When I changed club, I knew it was going to be a slow process, although I didn’t expect it to be so long. Chelsea is, between the English teams, maybe the least English. That’s because of the kind of player Chelsea has, an older player, who plays very slow, who has a lot of possession, and that’s what the club is trying to change.”
It wasn’t revolutionary analysis by the Spaniard. For me Chelsea have always been something of a slow team, often preferring the methodical to the pulsating. But it was a style that worked for them. ‘Too slow’ was a label stuck on the Blues when Duff and Robben departed (funny how characteristics only become problems with the success stops).
It was more interesting to see Torres mention players that ‘play very slow’. This brought me back to his relationship with Steven Gerrard, a player who can fire a pass in a second. As already mentioned this complimented Torres’ movement and resulted in Liverpool goal-records being broken. At Chelsea Torres may feel he is making runs, only to see the midfielder hold on to the ball. On a more positive note Torres did say of this problem that it’s something ‘the club is trying to change’.
Of course, there will be those who say Torres is simply finished, that he had his pomp at Liverpool and the club cashed in at the perfect time. Personally, I don’t believe this. Great players don’t become bad players. Yes, I think the explosive player who almost fired Liverpool to the title is gone. The groin injuries that have plagued him and that destroyed his world cup have dulled the turn of pure pace that was part of his arsenal. However, the aggression and the effort are there once again this season. Whether the price tag has burdened him more than anyone thought is another possibility.
From Chelsea’s perspective the failure to sign Modric was a missed opportunity. The Croatian is a master at playing little through balls in and around the box, the type that Torres would thrive on.
When asked for his reasons for leaving Liverpool, Torres explained that the team was in a transitional period and he felt that to complete this would ‘…take time. I didn’t have that time’. There is a feeling that, due to the age of many of the Chelsea team the next season or two will be a time of upheaval. Players like Lampard, Drogba and Terry will inevitably need to be replaced. Mata and Meireles I think will prove to be good signings; Lukaku and Romeu are young talents who should add an extra dimension, whilst it’s also good to see Daniel Sturridge being given his chance. But, for Chelsea to be the title-chasing team that Torres believed he was joining he needs to cement himself as the fulcrum of the next great Chelsea team.
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