Chelsea FC: How Fernando Torres Became a Lightning Rod for Criticism

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 26, 2013

Chelsea FC: How Fernando Torres Became a Lightning Rod for Criticism

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    Fernando Torres, the £50 million underachieving Spaniard, won’t ever receive the hate Chelsea supporters had for Winston Bogarde, but El Niño’s popularity at Stamford Bridge is fast approaching an all-time low.

    This article will detail how Torres, once one of the most feared forwards in the world for Liverpool, became a lightning rod for criticism with the Blues.

    Was Fernando crocked from the get-go or is he a victim of bad management?            

£50 Million Reasons Why Roman Abramovich Regrets Buying Fernando Torres

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    Who was the genius behind signing a deteriorating Fernando Torres for £50 million? Roman Abramovich should fire that person...on second thought, he's not going to fire himself. 

    Fernando had scored nine league goals from 89 shots and misplaced 35 percent of his passes for Liverpool. 

    He was having his worst season in a Reds' shirt and Torres wasn't the old Torres—with the exception of that classy brace against Chelsea, which may have prompted Roman to push the deal through. 

    I guess the Russian oligarch didn't see any red flags when Sheikh Mansour turned down the chance to sign the struggling Spaniard. 

    Roberto Mancini said (via Paul Wilson at The Observer): 

    Now he [Torres] is at Chelsea, but two years ago we were looking at him. There was a moment when we might have bought Torres but when we heard the price was so high we moved to one of our other targets and brought in Edin Džeko instead.

    Abramovich must have been on a business trip during Spain's 2010 FIFA World Cup conquest because a half-fit El Niño played his symbolic minutes and emulated Stéphane Guivarc'h's nothingness when France lifted the 1998 World Cup. 

    It's not just the ridiculous £50 million transfer fee but Torres' club salary is higher than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Marca

    "What if I told you even winners can end up losing everything," was one of the lines in ESPN 30 for 30's Broke

    A few more Torres-like deals and Abramovich could leave Chelsea high and dry.

    For a guy that wins, wins and wins in business deals outside of football, he gets screwed over a lot in the footballing world. 

    Abramovich, here's a squad you could have assembled with a £50 million budget, which would beat the overpaid and overpriced team you currently have. 

    1. GK: René Adler (Bayer Leverkusen to Hamburg on a free transfer)
    2. RB: Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid to Bayer Leverkusen for £4.3 million)
    3. CB: Dante (Borussia Mönchengladbach to Bayern Munich for £4.1 million)
    4. CB: Marquinhos (Corinthians to Roma for £2.6 million [1])
    5. LB: Bastian Oczipka (Bayer Leverkusen to Eintracht Frankfurt for £517,000)
    6. DM: Claudio Yacob (Racing to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer)
    7. DM: Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina to AC Milan on a free transfer)
    8. RAM: Erik Lamela (River Plate to Roma for £12.1 million)
    9. CAM: Hiroshi Kiyotake (Cerezo Osaka to Nürnberg for £1 million)
    10. LAM: Szabolcs Huszti (Zenit St. Petersburg to Hannover for £646,000)
    11. CF: Mario Mandzukić (Wolfsburg to Bayern Munich for £12.1 million)
    12. SUB 1: Jussi Jääskeläinen (Bolton Wanderers to West Ham United on a free transfer)
    13. SUB 2: Cicinho (Palmeiras to Sevilla for £1.7 million)
    14. SUB 3: Chico (Genoa to Swansea City for £2 million)
    15. SUB 4: Pape Diop (Racing Santander to Levante for £172,000)
    16. SUB 5: Max Kruse (St. Pauli to Freiburg for £646,000)
    17. SUB 6: Michu (Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City for £2 million)
    18. SUB 7: Burak Yılmaz (Trabzonspor to Galatasaray for £3.9 million)

    Money Left Over: £2,219,000...go buy Daria another posh restaurant (per The Telegraph).

    [1] originally a loan deal but buyout clause was activated after the Brazilian played eight games (via Football Italia)

Fernando Torres Held Back Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku

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    In the Bundesliga and Eredivisie, fading big-name players like Torres who don't meet expectations are discarded for younger and hungrier emerging talents. 

    By virtue of Torres' transfer fee and the wage he commands, he indirectly stunted the development of Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku. 

    The reason why I say indirect as opposed to direct is because El Niño doesn't have the final say in starting a centre-forward as a wide attacking midfielder or cutting one of the best young players in the world from the UEFA Champions League squad. 

    The biggest indictment on Fernando's career at Chelsea is that when Daniel and Romelu were forced out on loan, both comprehensively outperformed Torres whilst being surrounded by vastly inferior talent compared to the teammates Torres had with the Blues. 


    League Only (10-11) | WhoScored G SPG A SCPG SA%
    Daniel Sturridge (Bolton) 8 7.1 - 1.3 44
    Fernando Torres (CFC) 1 22 2 0.9 33

     

    G= goal/s; SPG = shots per goal; A = assist/s; SCPG = shots created per game; SA% = shooting accuracy percentage


    Clear-cut chance conversion percentage: Sturridge (25) > Torres (20)

    Chance conversion percentage: Sturridge (19) > Torres (7)

    Minutes per goal: Sturridge (122) > Torres (762)

    Source: Eplindex.com

     

    League Only (12-13) | WhoScored G SPG A SCPG SA%
    Fernando Torres (CFC) 7 7.1 4  1.0 60 
    Romelu Lukaku (WBA) 12 5.6 2 0.7 61

     

    Romelu's offensive statistics have been debilitated by starting on the bench in 52 percent of West Bromwich Albion league games this season. 

    Fernando has made Chelsea's starting XI 85.2 percent of the time in Premier League games.

    Lukaku's clear-cut conversion percentage is 15 percent better than Torres'. 

    Torres has played 784 minutes more (nine full games plus 64 minutes) than Lukaku, but the Belgian has scored five more EPL goals. 

    Source: Eplindex.com

     

    Since moving to Liverpool, Daniel has already scored four goals in five Premier League games, converting 38 percent of clear-cut chances (13 percent higher than Fernando). 

    When Romelu returns to Chelsea, what will happen to Fernando? And Demba Ba for that matter. 

Fernando Torres Doesn't Care About Chelsea

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    Fernando Torres has stated in the past he didn't care about Chelsea (from El País via Sid Lowe at The Guardian): 

    I had teammates who didn't care if the team won or lost because they were not playing. I never wanted to be like that.  

    But, one day I discovered that I was like them, that it didn't matter it we won or lost if I was not playing.

    I learned to look at myself and to realise that the only person that can change is you. 

    Torres also threw his teammates under the bus for their "slow build-up play" (per BBC Sport). 

    In came Eden Hazard (£32 million) and Oscar (£25 million) to supplement Juan Mata (£23.5 million) in Roman Abramovich's £80.5 million-valued SOS package for El Niño. 

    More importantly, Fernando became the Blues' undisputed No. 9 by default.

    No more Didier Drogba to make Fernando insecure. 

    Two potential successors (Sturridge and Lukaku) to Torres' starting gig were sent packing.

    Former mentor Rafa Benítez, who openly disrespected Chelsea in the past and wrecked a UEFA Champions League winning team in Inter Milan, was signed to help Torres regain his confidence. 

    This is why Yossi Benayoun's comments about the club mismanaging Fernando are way off the mark.

    So many concessions were made for the former Liverpool striker and what has he done this season.

    • 92 players have scored more league goals (8) than Torres (7).
    • 142 footballers average more shots per game (2.2) than Fernando (2.1). 
    • How is that possible? Mata, Oscar and Hazard combine for 0.4 more shots created per game than shots taken.

    Statistics sampled from La Liga, Bundesliga, Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1.

    Source: WhoScored

     

    Fernando Redondo wasn't just one of the most elegant midfielders in recent memory, but he was a man of principle. 

    He was so dismayed with his AC Milan career being stuck in Limbo that he abdicated his salary on his own volition (from UEFA.com).

    Damiano Tommasi restructured his contract with Roma, having returned from a long-term injury, which meant he went from earning millions to just the minimum salary. It was an act that he instigated (per Barbara McMahon at The Observer).

    We know Torres isn't a man for the moment like Drogba, nor is he a ruthless goal scorer in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo, and Fernando certainly doesn't make his teammates better, à la Lionel Messi. 

    However, Torres can still be a man of principle. 

    Give up your salary like Redondojust do it! 

     

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    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com and Eplindex.com