Fernando Torres: Can El Nino Partner with Radamel Falcao at Chelsea?

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2013

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 11: Fernando Torres of Chelsea FC looks on during the UEFA Europa League quarter final second leg match between FC Rubin Kazan and Chelsea FC at the Luzhniki Stadium on April 11, 2013 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Dmitry Korotayev/Getty Images

El Nino and El Tigre on the attack—it sounds like a scene fresh out of a Sergio Leone western. Indeed, all it needs is an Ennio Morricone score and it very well could be.

Whereas tales from the Wild West, however, are filled with great double acts that befit a pioneering period in America's history, there are question marks over whether a Fernando Torres-Radamel Falcao partnership could do for Chelsea what Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid did for outlaws.

OK, so it was the screen adaptations portrayed by Paul Newman and Robert Redford that made us fall in love with Butch and his gunslinger friend, but what of Torres and Falcao?

It's long been rumored the Blues will splash out this summer to bring the Colombian to London (via The Sun), with his arrival expected to end Torres' ill-fated two-and-a-half year spell at Stamford Bridge.

It's been painful to watch at times as Torres has struggled for form, with every new dawn often proving a false one. Whether it be the presence of Didier Drogba, adjusting to new managers or a lack of confidence, the Spaniard hasn't quite hit the heights we saw during his days at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool

With Falcao outlining his ruthless streak by bagging 26 goals in 30 La Liga appearances this termincidentally for El Nino's former club Atleticoit's no wonder Chelsea are being linked with him.

Yet for everything the Colombian would bring, the impact of his potential arrival is not as black and white as some would think.

There's often a tendency in football that following one big signing, the previous must be shipped out. It can often be like a stereotypical frontier town—one bandit enters as the other leaves, and some would suggest Chelsea isn't big enough for Torres and Falcao.

They bring different qualities, though. Whereas Torres has built his game on playing off the last defender, Falcao does much of his work in front of the opposition's back line or sneaks up to make them pay. He's nicknamed El Tigre (The Tiger) for that reasonoften lurking in the shadows before pouncing upon his prey when they least expect it.

The Torres of old is just that, don't forget. The Liverpool team that flourished with him leading the line was built for a man of his qualities when he arrived in 2007. Football has changed since then and so too has Chelsea's Spanish striker. He occupies space differently and has adapted to a new way of thinking.

It's that new approach that suggests a partnership with Falcao has the potential to flourish. After all, he isn't a player who relies on using what pace he has left to burst past defenders anymore—Torres is about much more than that these days (as our diagram would suggest).

Falcao has flourished with a teammate alongside him—a player who runs off the ball, can drop deep and provide movement to unsettle defenders, allowing him to pounce how only a tiger can. He has that in Diego Costa at his current club, and from what we've seen this season, he could have that with Torres at Chelsea, who himself has performed well alongside Demba Ba at times.

It's naive to suggest Falcao's arrival would see him slot into the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation at Stamford Bridge. He has the attributes to lead the line, sure, but in any case, Torres has the attributes to partner him. It just depends whether or not Chelsea have the courage to test a strike partnership that cost the best part of £100 million.

Torres has long been the quintessential Lone Ranger, so is now the time he takes on a partner?