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Barcelona eyes only: The Fernando Torres scouting report

Fernando Torres levitating
Fernando Torres levitating
Scott Heavey

Dearest Mr. Rossell,

I hope that this letter finds you in good health. I represent Football Scouting Europe, the continent's largest independent football scouting network. Pursuant to your club's interest in Chelsea FC striker Fernando Torres, our organisation has prepared a complementary dossier (attached; Appendix A) which you may find of some utility. This scouting report is based on the observations of our top agent, Pedro Falsonombre, a veteran of 37 years in the field.

I hope that you find our evaluation useful in making your decision whether to take your pursuit of Mr. Torres further. If so, please consider our proprietary services as you continue to improve on an already first-rate site in FC Barcelona.

Yours sincerely,
Director, Football Scouting Europe

Appendix A: Fernando Torres Scouting Report

Prepared by Pedro Falsonombre

Fernando Torres remains one of Europe's greatest strikers despite Chelsea's mismanagement of his career over the past few seasons. Since his transfer from Liverpool, Torres has been thoroughly misused by a series of managers before Rafael Benitez briefly broke the club's fetish for anti-football. The reasons for Torres' early season struggles with Chelsea are many -- he has lacked the creative players required to feed him the ball, he has not received support from the owners and the fans, and opposing defenders have brutally resorted to physical violence in order to contain him rather than allow his pace, intelligence and trickery to beat them.

Torres is the fastest player in the Premier League, and under Benitez he was Chelsea's main threat on the counterattack. He's scored several brilliant goals on the break, including the decider against Barcelona in the Camp Nou in last year's Champions League semifinal. He's also extremely valuable in build-up play, and is capable of holding the ball up to make clever passes and using his trickery to open up defences -- note the corner won in the 2012 Champions League final -- as the situation demands.

His finishing is both decisive and top-notch. Torres is capable of scoring goals with both feet and his head, and never hesitates to shoot when in position to score. The famous miss against Manchester United nonwithstanding, Torres has never failed to convert a significant chance while wearing Chelsea colours; his relatively low strike rate is due to the fact that he's been forced to drop deeper and play on the wings while his team huddle up in their own half, too scared of their opposition to venture into the attack.

Torres is also effective defensively, giving an option on set pieces and enthusiastically pressing the opposition. Benitez installed him at the near post for defensive corners, an experiment which succeeded with flying colours. He's also a major positive force in the locker room, always staying positive despite the fact that Chelsea fans have never backed him and ownership have increasingly marginalised him thanks to a lack of goals, which were, again, no fault of his own.

Thanks to Chelsea's shortsightedness, our sources say that the club would be willing to let him go for a fee of around €20 million. This is a steal for a club with Barcelona's resources. Despite the presence of Karim Benzema, the boost of playing in his home country for a club like the Blaugrana would instantly see Torres become the top centre forward in Spain. He is guaranteed to score at least 30 goals a season in domestic and European play if used correctly, and would by a fine addition to any squad.

Torres is a natural winner. He has won two European Championships (scoring the winner in 2008 and earning the golden boot in 2012 with four goals), a World Cup, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League. Wherever he goes, victory follows.

The only red flag is Torres' habit of scoring against 'weaker' opposition, a fact which is mitigated in Barcelona's circumstances by the fact that every football club on the planet is inherently inferior to the Catalans, both morally and technically. Should Torres go to the Camp Nou, he'll always be playing against Brentford.

Fernando Torres would give Barcelona an option they haven't had in years -- a reliable, powerful centre forward to open up defences which play a high line. With David Villa ineffective and on the verge of a move, this transfer is a no brainer.

Recommendation: Buy, €20 million. High priority.

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