Why Chelsea Fans Would Be Sad to See Fernando Torres Leave

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on May 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Fernando Torres' Chelsea career has not been easy. He arrived weighed down by his £50 million price tag, amid some rather boastful banter from the Blues fans toward their Liverpool counterparts.

When the striker failed to live up to these expectations, a cycle of despair began. As his form became less consistent, the pressure mounted, which appeared to compound the negativity that surrounded him. Even a goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford was overshadowed by a glaring miss in the same game.

Patience and time have given glimpses of the player that Roman Abramovich spent all that money on, but Jose Mourinho's arrival has cast doubt over the future of the Spanish star. Torres has brushed off speculation linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge and seems in fine spirits, netting four goals for his country against Tahiti in the Confederations Cup.

However, talks with Mourino will be crucial to determining his future. While there are many Chelsea fans out there who would be glad to see the end of this whole saga, there are those who would be sad to see Torres depart Stamford Bridge before his contract expires in 2016.

When Torres joined Chelsea in January 2011, he was a very expensive backup to first-choice striker Didier Drogba. Having been Liverpool's golden boy, this change was a shock to the Spanish star's system.

Rather than stepping up and fighting for a place in the starting 11, Torres effectively hid. When he made an appearance, he looked half-hearted and sad, but as it became clear that Drogba would not be extending his contract at the end of the 2011-12 season, his mood began to lift. 

In the summer of 2012, many commentators expected the 2012-13 season to rejuvenate Torres as the first-choice striker at the club. Even Drogba tipped him to improve.

After an excellent start to the season, Chelsea imploded as a unit and that dramatic decline continued throughout the winter months. When Blues legend and Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo was sacked in November 2012, many pointed to Torres' troubles as a major contributing factor.

He was struggling to score and his reluctance to have a single shot on goal in the Premier League loss to West Bromwich Albion led to his omission from the starting lineup against Juventus in the Champions League. 

Di Matteo brought him on as a second-half substitute, but he failed to make an impact as Chelsea's defence of their title was all but ended in Turin.

The appointment of Rafa Benitez as Di Matteo's interim replacement was rejected by the fans, and many believed that it had been done solely for the benefit of Torres. If that was indeed the case, it worked to an extent. His form in the second half of the season was greatly improved, and he finished up with 22 goals in all competitions.

If Rafa's rejuvenation of Torres served only to improve any transfer offers from other clubs, you can bet that the fans who rejected his appointment so vociferously will feel even more betrayed by the whole saga than they already do.

There is also the issue of finding a replacement. Chelsea are reportedly chasing £56 million-rated Edinson Cavani, having missed out on long-term target Radamel Falcao.

There are a number of supporters who question the thinking behind this, as the arrival of another big-money striker would surely spell the end of Torres' time in Blue. Like Andriy Shevchenko before him, he has struggled to live up to the expectations placed on him by the exorbitant transfer fee, but having been burned before, this time it is a case of "better the devil you know." 

There have been glimpses of the form that commanded such a fee, most notably when the "Zorres" mask was worn when Torres broke his nose. Now, rather than blaming the club for his shortcomings, he has accepted that he needs to do better next season. It would be greatly unfair to dismiss a player in whom a great amount of time and money has been invested, at a time when he is beginning to show signs of returning on that investment.