Fernando Torres' struggles at Chelsea have been well documented and no one has been able to offer a definitive answer as to why it hasn't worked out for him at Stamford Bridge. Is there a reason that could be used single-handedly to explain why Torres has been such a failure at Chelsea? I think not. Inbetween the numerous excuses offered by Torres and his fans, otherwise known as the Chelsea board, there are a number of legitimate reasons that can be put forward to help explain why it hasn't quite worked out for Torres at Chelsea.
To begin with, Torres didn't exactly have the greatest of starts to his career at Chelsea. He had to leave his wife and his young daughter in Liverpool whilst he lived in a hotel suite for the first couple of months of his Chelsea career. The hotel suite was costing a staggering £2500 a night but leaving his wife and child behind can't have helped Torres settle at Chelsea. Then there was his debut against the team he had just joined Chelsea from, Liverpool. Playing alongside Drogba with Anelka playing just behind them in a formation that Ancelotti had quickly thrown together to accommodate all three of them, Torres had a nightmare. The formation wasn't working at all and Ancelotti quickly reverted back to a 4-3-3 with Drogba up top and Torres playing as a makeshift winger. Torres was substituted after only 66 minutes, not before he received a slap in the face from Agger, much to the away supporters delight. How much of mental blow was it for Torres to have such a dreadful debut against his beloved Liverpool? There are a few who argue that Torres should never have started that game but a professional international footballer should be able to deal with a few psychological blows throughout his career and if anything, bounce back stronger.
Torres makes it no secret that he loved Liverpool and the fans at Liverpool certainly loved him back. In fact, 20 months into his Chelsea career Torres publicly spoke about how Liverpool were still a main part of his life and that one day he will set the record straight with the fans to earn their love once again. Does Torres believe the Chelsea fans don't love him like the Liverpool fans used to do? Merseyside Journalist Richard Buxton certainly thinks one of the reasons why Torres has failed is down to the fans, "His need to feel loved was satisfied during his time at Anfield but in 2010 with the club in financial peril, he sought a move onto pastures new. Disinterest clouded his final six months on Merseyside after a switch to his preferred destination of Barcelona failed to transpire." To counter claims that the Chelsea fans never loved him, I've seen first hand evidence of fans offering infrangible support for Torres on multiple occasions. You only have to look at the way the fans reacted when Torres finally got his first goal for the club against West Ham, a few described it as the highlight of the season (admittedly it wasn't a great season). When he arrived at the club, he sold nine times more shirts than any other player. He was immune to criticism from the majority of the fans and according to the majority, the bad performances were never his fault.
This isn't the case anymore but who can blame the Chelsea fans for getting fed up with Torres? He's cost a few people their jobs, he's had 4 stand out games and his goal to game ratio is appalling, similar the one you would expect from a defender. Phil who runs the brilliant twitter account @chelseayouth was not so keen from the start:
I think the Torres transfer was always destined to ‘fail', but the spectacular manner in which he's crashed and burned was a surprise. It's rare that a team pays big money for a ready- made star and they live up to their billing, which was why I had some reservations when he arrived, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't expect him to maintain at least an acceptable strike rate.
He ran out of excuses a long time ago so the fingers must be pointed at him. The club has moved heaven and earth to accommodate him; expensive signings, favoured members of staff, extensive playing time - you name it, they've done it. Yet still he flounders.
Torres' biggest issue, since day one, has been his poor movement. He isn't remotely in tune with those around him and makes baffling decisions as to where to move, often behind two defenders and away from both the ball and the danger zone. When the ball doesn't arrive (and it typically doesn't because the player passing the ball is playing it to where he'd expect a competent forward to be), he simply throws up his hands in exasperation. It's never his fault.
Remarkably there are people out there who still insist that you can't blame Torres for his failure at Chelsea. Yossi Benayoun believes Chelsea are to blame, notably previous managers Ancelotti, Villas Boas and Di Matteo. Benayoun told the Daily Mirror in February that the club haven't treated Torres anywhere near good enough. Benayoun added "he [Torres] had a bad time in the beginning at Chelsea. When he came in, he was on the bench, then on the pitch, so he did not get the confidence when he came in." He continued to go on to again publicly declare his faith in Torres and that he is still on of the best strikers in the world. Pepe Reina also had his say on the matter, he told the Independent that "Chelsea are to blame for Fernando Torres' struggle to deliver at Stamford Bridge, having failed to dispense with other players' egos and build a team around him. Neither had Chelsea built up his confidence when he needed them to." Judging by what others are saying about him, Torres is starting to sound like a very fragile human being who constantly needs to be supported and loved. How did he ever become a professional footballer if he is really that fragile? I used to think it was just his hamstrings that were fragile, not his mental state. At the start of Villas Boas reign, Torres had the support of the fans, his family, the board and the management, so why wasn't he playing well? Were players like Drogba and Anelka standing in his way? I find that hard to believe and more importantly, Torres was starting more games than the other two.
There is also the argument that Chelsea's style of play has never suited Torres. A total of 69% of Torres' goals at Liverpool were from defence splitting passes, most of them from Gerrard or Alonso. Chelsea's scouts and board surely would have been aware of such statistics when they agreed to sign Torres but perhaps they believed that a player who was considered 'world class' at the time would have been able to adapt his game slightly to fit into a different style of play. Whilst Torres was the clubs new star signing, the club couldn't instantly implement a new style of play overnight. Torres was signed about ten minutes before the transfer window shut, it was a panic singing and when looking at the evidence, it doesn't appear to have been a planned signing. However, this season Chelsea have created three hundred and thirty nine chances in the league, only three behind Manchester United. Torres has had nearly a sixth of those chances himself and has only scored seven goals, meaning he scores a goal roughly every 8 shots he has, nowhere near good enough. It's important to remember as well that Torres practically only shoots when he has no other options as he seems to be terrified of actually taking a shot, not ideal for a striker. Ramon Isaac (@mowingmeadows) had the following to say on Torres' lost attributes:
Torres lost his greatest asset, his pace. His touch has been criticised but it was never perfect at Liverpool, it was masked by remarkable awareness and reactions. You can't blame the club for any of this, they've bought best friends, ex-managers, world class talent and even those who stood in his way.
What's left after 30months of toil? A striker that is afraid of the opposition box, a goalscorer that no longer knows where the net is and a shell of what once was. Sad, really.
It's hard to disagree with Ramon, whilst the initial situation surround Torres' arrival wasn't ideal, the club have done everything they can to get things right for Torres. You only have to look at the money the club have spent on acquiring players who were going to create chances for him and that is what they have been doing so why hasn't he been scoring?
You can blame Chelsea, you can blame Liverpool and you can blame his injuries but at the end of the day, it was down to Torres to ensure that he wasn't labelled a flop and he just hasn't done enough. Torres and his buddies will naturally blame everyone else for his failures but Chelsea have done everything they possibly can do to help Torres score goals. The continuous public backings he receives from just about everybody at Chelsea are becoming embarrassing and ditching Torres should be Chelsea's number one priority for the upcoming summer.