Chelsea: 5 Clubs Who Could Benefit from Signing Fernando Torres in the Summer
It's impossible not to feel sorry for Fernando Torres.
With the weight of a record £50 million transfer fee on his shoulders, the World Cup-winning Spaniard has failed to pay dividends to his Chelsea employers.
In the recent loss at Steaua Bucharest, a few laughably bad contributions seemed to surmise the misfortune El Nino has suffered since joining The Blues.
With fellow countryman Rafa Benitez failing to "horse whisper" him back to his lethal ways—and another summer clearout at Stamford Bridge looking inevitable—Nando seems set to find pastures new before next season.
Here are five teams with which he may thrive.
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Torres supported Atletico Madrid as a child and joined their youth system at age 11. He kick-started his career with Los Colchoneros, earning a La Liga promotion, becoming the club's top scorer in five consecutive seasons and scoring nearly every other game.
Clearly, Nando was happy with his home club, and one can only imagine he would be delighted to go back.
In January, several tabloids floated the possibility of Atleti offering Torres "an escape route," albeit one where he would have to accept lower wages than the £175,000 per week he currently receives.
In the past few seasons, Chelsea have made no secret of their desire to sign Radamel Falcao, who looks certain to leave Madrid this summer.
A cash-plus-player-swap deal would suit all parties, provided Falcao was willing to accept the suitcase of money waiting for him at Stamford Bridge.
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Anzhi Makhachkala are only 22 years old, but billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov is aiming to establish them among Europe's elite. He has brought in Guus Hiddink as manager, the world's best-paid player in Samuel Eto'o, former Shakhtar sensation Willian and former Chelsea star Yuri Zhirkov.
With a few calls to fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich, one would imagine a deal could be easily set up. Anzhi could match or better his Chelsea wages, and away from the spotlight of the Premier League or La Liga, Torres would have the perfect environment to regain his confidence.
Last December, The Mirror said the Russians were the only side close to offering a fee that approaches the £50 million Chelsea paid for Nando. However, The Daily Mail this week claimed Torres has rebuffed a potential move to Russia—although they have no quotes or supporting evidence to back up this claim.
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Much like Anzhi, Paris Saint-Germain are backed by a deep reserve of petrodollars that gives them the pick of world football's riches.
In Ligue 1, Torres would have a slightly less competitive environment in which to rediscover his mojo, without forfeiting wages or top-level European competition. PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti recently admitted that he was offered the Spaniard, so a deal is certainly not out of the question.
The stumbling block, it seems, would be Torres' role in the team. PSG currently boast the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Kevin Gameiro up front. How would El Nino partner with any of those players? He certainly never hit it off partnering with Didier Drogba at Chelsea and worked best at Liverpool up front on his own with Steven Gerrard in support.
What's more, Ibra's ego is unlikely to allow anyone—let alone goal-shy Torres—to take top billing in attack!
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Juventus may have perfected their midfield-tastic 3-5-2 formation to trophy-winning effect, but the Serie A leaders who once boasted the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Christian Vieri and Filippo Inzaghi lack a world-class striker.
Since then, The Old Lady have confirmed that Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente will join the club in a free transfer in July, but this does not necessarily impede Torres' potential at the Serie A side. They are different kinds of strikers—with Llorente providing more of an aerial threat—and they are used to working together on the Spain team, where Torres is generally higher in the pecking order.
Working with his countryman with the support of a formidable midfield could be exactly the shot in the arm Torres needs to rediscover the back of the net.
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With 81 goals in three-and-a-half seasons, Torres enjoyed a continuation of his Madrid salad days at Liverpool.
Obviously, the current soup du jour at Anfield is Premier League top goalscorer Luis Suarez, while Daniel Sturridge appears to have been an astute January purchase.
However, with form and ability far exceeding a side teetering on the edge of qualifying for European football, it is possible that Luis Suarez will depart this summer. Pep Guardiola is said to be an admirer, with the financial clout to bring the Uruguayan to his new Bayern Munich project.
If Suarez departs, the stage could be set for Torres to return to the club with which he was so prolific and confident. There are no specific newspaper rumours pertaining to a return, but if they could negotiate a good price, many Liverpool fans seem keen on the idea. Torres would probably feel the same way.