Fernando Torres: 5 Reasons He Should Never Have Signed for Chelsea
More than a year since his switch from Liverpool, Torres is playing under his third manager at Stamford Bridge, and there seems to be no end to his 24-hour goal drought.
When he signed for Chelsea in a British record deal on transfer deadline day in January, no one could possibly have imagined the extent of his demise in a blue shirt.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but considering circumstances then and now, he should never have left Liverpool for Chelsea.
Here are five reasons why—and feel free to have your say in the comments below.
Square Peg in Round Hole
The first is for tactical reasons, which have been made extremely apparent but which should also have been obvious prior to his signing.
This Chelsea team, with Jose Mourinho’s DNA still imprinted on the players, continue to play a system with Didier Drogba as the club’s tailor-made targetman and Frank Lampard the orchestrator and finisher.
With Torres at his best when he plays off the shoulder of the last defender and in front of a dynamic second striker, it is no surprise to see that he has complained of the Chelsea team’s slow build-up pace.
While Torres is adept in the air, his lone striker style is forward-looking rather than the back-towards-goal hold-up play that Drogba has trademarked.
What has become painfully obvious to all observers now should have been clear to Torres himself prior to signing: that Torres does not fit Chelsea's system. At all.
Transitional Phase for Chelsea
The grass at Stamford Bridge looked to be greener than Anfield’s to Torres, but he was signing up for a trophy record that had been achieved with Mourinho’s team.
A team in bad need of a drastic overhaul due to its age.
This has been made even more apparent by the recently-let-off Andre Villas-Boas’ failed attempts at freshening up the team.
And Torres himself has now been made the scapegoat of Chelsea’s troubles.
Not to mention that Chelsea are further away from silverware—notably the Premier League trophy and Champions League glory that he so wants—than they have ever been under Roman Abramovich’s ownership.
Manchesters City and United and even Tottenham would have matched Torres’ requirements in terms of playing style and quick success, not Chelsea.
Owner’s Signing, Not Coach’s
Torres was Roman Abramovich’s marquee signing, not then-coach Carlo Ancelotti’s.
This much should have been clear to the player himself.
He was personally brought to Stamford Bridge as part of the owner’s grand plans for glory and as an immediate fix for the team’s troubles, but he was not Ancelotti’s pick.
Having seen the troubles that Ancelotti faced in having to integrate the owner’s flagship in unfamiliar formations to the detriment of the team, we now know how hard it has been for Chelsea’s coaching staff to make Torres fire again.
Torres should have been able to understand the immediate context surrounding his transfer. Given a player of his stature and ability, he should have known that it is not enough to be an owner’s favorite.
But unfortunately, his desire to jump ship trumped all—and it’s proven to be a disaster.
Reemergence Under Kenny Dalglish
And now onto the reasons he shouldn’t have left Liverpool.
Following a disastrous few months under Roy Hodgson and a tumultuous soap opera involving backroom battles and a subsequent takeover, Torres was left disillusioned at Liverpool’s future.
Liverpool couldn’t provide the silverware that he “needed” at this stage of his career, he claimed.
But here was John Henry, Liverpool’s new principal owner, who had just shelled out a club record fee for Uruguayan superstar Luis Suarez, and here was Kenny Dalglish, who had instilled a newfound sense of purpose within both players and fans.
A half-season of relative unproductivity for Torres burst into life for him, as he had a fruitful January under Dalglish’s first month in tenure—a month that would eventually prove Torres’ last.
Another half-season would have showed Torres if his ambitions would be matched at Anfield, and if he had elected to leave after leading a rescue act for the club, he would have left with the Kop’s well wishes, not taunts.
Status Amongst Fans
Perhaps romance is a factor that has always been overhyped in football. Perhaps personal glory and money in the coffers are and always will be that much more important to footballers.
But Torres enjoyed a level of adoration that few people, not just in football, will ever achieve.
He was a club icon, a global superstar, a face that Liverpool fans were proud to associate with and have represent their beloved club. The amount of abuse that Torres has received since his departure will only serve to confirm this.
The desire to join a winning club was understandable to most, especially given Liverpool’s showings in their recent seasons. A footballing institution like Barcelona, Real Madrid or a top Italian team would have made perfect sense to the Kop. Not Chelsea.
Only Torres himself will know if he is still convinced he made the right choice.
Feeling the Blues for Torres
A quick check of my writer’s profile will show you that I’m an unabashed Liverpool fan, and I am not afraid to admit that Torres was one of my favorite ever players in all of football, never mind in a Red shirt.
This article was not written out of spite or as a show of schadenfreude, but rather as an attempt at a logical analysis of the failed Torres experiment at Chelsea.
Given the option of seeing him flourish in a blue shirt or fail to this extent, as a football fan first and foremost, I absolutely prefer the former. It is an astronomical waste of Torres’ talent to be withering away on Chelsea’s bench, and an absolutely depressing sight to see him fluff the chances he used to put away so easily.
But above all, the Torres farce is also a sad reminder that the head should always rule the heart, and a perfect example of the extent to which bad decision-making can make or break a career in football.
What do you think? Was Chelsea the right move even last January? Share your thoughts below.
If you liked this article, you might also be interested in 10 Things Villas-Boas’ Sacking Means for Chelsea. Please also check out my writer’s profile, where you can find more of my work, and my blog, The Red Armchair, for Liverpool match reactions and opinions.