The sight of Torres in a Chelsea shirt has come to be something that invites ridicule rather than fear. His decent performance in the Super Cup is unlikely to change manager Jose Mourinho's plans for the season, and the arrival of Samuel Eto'o only exacerbates the situation.
Chelsea cannot realistically hope to recoup the £50 million they paid Liverpool in 2011, with Massimo Marioni of Metro citing Mourinho's value of Torres at something closer to “twenty and a half” based on his record of crucial goals in Europe.
It's not pleasant to see a player with the enviable talent of Torres wasting valuable years of his career in a situation that has become untenable. If he wants to return to anything close to the player he was at Liverpool, he needs to accept defeat at Chelsea and seek an opportunity elsewhere.
He no longer has quite the same pace that terrified any defender visiting Anfield, but the striker's instinct is still very much alive and the finish he produced in the Super Cup may have opened some eyes.
It's not simply about playing regular club football, either.
Torres was left out of Spain's squad to face Finland and Chile over the next 10 days, which is completely understandable. If he wants to get back to scoring goals at international level, he needs to reconsider his future in London.
Whichever way you look at it, 15 goals in 94 games for Chelsea is not enough—for player or club.
Mourinho and Chelsea have made it clear that Torres is no longer part of their plan going forward. Leaving him out of the starting lineup for the clash with Manchester United—despite his success against Nemanja Vidic in the past—sent a clear signal. His services are no longer required.
If they wish to reclaim a sizable amount of money back, they need to sell during this transfer window.
Torres showed on Friday night that he still has the capacity to score goals and be involved creatively. Against the best team in the world, he seemed to be at the centre of all Chelsea's best moves—as if he was putting on a show for watching teams.
The European stage is the biggest shop window in football, and Torres showed he can still contribute to a team in need of goals and an injection of pace.
It may be that Spain will offer the best option to reignite his career.
Certainly Torres would be greeted as a returning legend at Atleti, and forming a partnership with David Villa would indeed be an interesting proposition.
Regular playing minutes is what he needs as he approaches 30, and the number of teams that will offer him such a luxury is dwindling. If he is to restart a career that once glittered, now may be his final chance.
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