Call me crazy, but there is a realistic chance that Chelsea will be able to get rid of Fernando Torres this summer. I know I'm going against the majority here, but amid speculation that Valencia are interested in a loan move, I believe there is some truth to it. Let's start by looking at the facts surrounding Torres and a potential move.
What makes moving Torres so challenging?
- Price Tag - Though he wouldn't cost anywhere near the record £50m Chelsea splashed to prize him away from Liverpool, Torres would still cost a decent £15-22m. This price tag somewhat restricts the amount of club that could go for him.
- Salary Demands - According to ESPN, Torres commands a respectable £175,000/week at Chelsea. It's hard to think of any team in the world that would want to take him on these wages.
- Age - Some players are late bloomers (i.e. Didier Drogba), others just age gracefully (i.e. Andrea Pirlo), Torres was simply an early riser whose career crashed before he ever reached his peak. At this stage of his career, Torres would have no potential resale value.
Now let's look at the reasons why I think blondie can still be moved:
- Upcoming World Cup - Being one year away from the world cup, Torres will be desperate to play regularly and impress Del Bosque. Let's keep in mind that his main contenders for la Roja's leading striker role have all earned, or are in the process of earning well publicized moves. David Villa has moved to Athletico Madrid, Alvaro Negredo has joined the Pellegrini revolution with the noisy neighbors, Fernando Llorente will pair up with Tevez for the old lady, and Soldado is on the verge of becoming Tottenham's leading striker. No need to say that the pressure is on for Torres, and should Mourinho make it clear that he is not part of his plans, he will most likely try to find a compromise to get away from the club and get some crucial playing time ahead of the Brazil 2014.
- This Has Been Done Before- Torres isn't the first nor the last expensive flop a club's trying to move along. Here is the way I would do it. I would loan him out for the first year in a deal which would see Chelsea subsidize his wages, and the other party still paying a bulk of it. I would then offer him up for sale to that club for the following year, after considerably slashing his transfer fee, so that some of the money saved by the other club could be disbursed to him as a sign on bonus. With him being desperate for frequent football, I'm sure he would consider taking a reasonable pay cut to facilitate such a transaction, as long as the club in question offered him a serious chance to revive his career. This is not as far-fetched as it may seem, something very similar was done for Emmanuel Adebayor who was on similar wages to Torres, at Manchester City. Adebayor went on loan to Spurs for a season, and ended up signing for them the following one, after accepting to reduce his wages from £175,000 to £100,000/week. Quite a reduction you would say! The twist is that Adebayor was offered a £4m sign on bonus by Tottenham, which was only made possible by the ridiculously low fee of £5m Manchester City accepted for his sale. Read about this story here. This can be done people!
- Fernando Torres, the Name - Torres remains one of the most recognizable names in world football. His acquisition would tremendously help a number of clubs with world wide coverage, publicity, shirt sales, etc.
- Decent Recent Form - Despite being a £50m flop (no 2 ways about it), Torres actually had a decent 2012-13 season. He passed the 20 goals bar last season for Chelsea, and grabbed the golden boot at the latest European Championship as well as the Fifa confederation cup. This record will attract some clubs.
One thing I can see for sure at this point: Chelsea will never see Torres at his best. There has been too much scrutiny, second guessing, pressure, and disappointment. At this point, El Nino just needs a fresh start. I don't think any club will see him at his best anymore, but I believe he still has a lot to offer, just not at Chelsea. A new league, new club, new fans, new challenge just might revive him .. to some extent at least.