Today the Daily Mail is running with a story that appeared in the Russian press, claiming that Fernando Torres has shot down the opportunity to move to Anzhi Makhachkala over the summer. I'm sure this will be a major story for the tabloids over the next several days, but without any sort of sourcing, I'm certainly not sure that I'd put anything into this at all.
Credibility of the story aside, this does bring up an interesting talking point when discussing Fernando Torres. With Torres failing to find any sort of form even with the (interim) Torres-whisperer at the helm, you'd have to believe that the club would now love to part ways with the 50 million pound flop. Getting rid of him may be an issue though, and the Mail story perfectly illustrates why.
Selling Fernando Torres will not be impossible, and Anzhi Makhachkala are a perfect example of the types of clubs that might be willing to pay a decent fee for his services. We all know what Torres does not bring to the table, as it's been discussed here at length. He does still bring a few things to the table though, as he's still one of the biggest names in the sport. Good or bad, there will be cameras and journalists following him wherever he ends up. If you're a club in Turkey or Russia that has money to burn, a name like Fernando Torres may be worth 15-20 million pounds and a hefty wage off the pitch, even if he continues to be worth nothing at all while on it.
The issue here lies in whether we'll be able to find a team such as that, and one where he'd also be willing to play. Presumably, Torres is still of the opinion that he's a decent football player. Still short of 30, I can't imagine he believes his international or top flight career is over. While a move to a club like Anzhi wouldn't hurt Fernando's wallet, it would be hard to view it as a move to a top side, and it would almost certainly end his World Cup chances.
Torres has the option to remain at Chelsea FC, in doing so collecting a similarly hefty paycheck while presumably playing in the top competitions in Europe. Even if he's not particularly enjoying his time here, you'd have to think there is a desire to remain in one of Europe's top leagues instead of moving completely out of the limelight.
For Torres, a move to a club in Spain, Italy, England, Germany, or even France would make an awful lot more sense than landing at one of the lesser known clubs of the world. That's where this becomes a bit tricky, as it's much harder to find a fit for Chelsea when taking the player's interests into account. The top leagues in Europe all have pretty good TV and media draws on their own, and probably wouldn't gain an awful lot by signing the ghost of Fernando Torres. While Anzhi could gets some much needed publicity from making a deal for Fernando, clubs in the top leagues in Europe just wouldn't get the same benefit.
We talked about Torres' value last night, and their are probably clubs that would indeed pay a decent amount for him. Personally, I just can't see him being willing to take that sort of move though, as I'm sure he still believes he can play at a high level. With that in mind, getting rid of him is going to be an awfully difficult task. I can't see the club being thrilled to take basically nothing for a fee and also subsidizing part of his wages so that he can be picky about where he goes, and I can't see the player voluntarily taking a pay cut of 60-80% in order to facilitate a move to a club he'd prefer. Both sides will likely need to make major concessions in order for a deal to work, and I just have a hard time seeing one getting done.
Torres is a big name, so I'm sure we're going to see lots about this in the press until he's either sold or turns back into a good player. Since the the latter seems increasingly unlikely, I'd get used to stories like this. When reading them, just keep in mind that there are going to be major obstacles to a deal. Unless a club he'd enjoy playing for is willing to spend entirely too much for a washed up player, this type of story probably won't be going away.