Fernando Torres vs. Roberto Soldado: Who Is Better?

Dan LeveneFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

Hakan Balta of Galatasaray, left, and Fernando Torres of Chelsea fight for the ball during their Champions League Round of 16, First Leg soccer match between Galatasaray and Chelsea at Turk Telekom Arena Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

With a combined value of £76 million, Fernando Torres and Roberto Soldado have proved that a Premier League goal machine cannot just be bought.

The Chelsea and Tottenham strikers, who both arrived at their current club with a huge fanfare, and a bigger reputation, have been largely remarkable for their failure to find the net.

Torres is just over three years into his Chelsea career, after that club record £50 million move from Liverpool.

Meanwhile Soldado is still in his first campaign at White Hart Lane, following the £26 million summer move from Valencia.

So there remains the argument that one is yet to find his form, while the other has demonstrated that his form has long since deserted him.

But what do the statistics say about the two men?

So far this season, Torres has found the net nine times in 28 appearances—though that statistic does not tell the whole story.

Only four of those goals have come in the Premier League, and he has always been subject to the accusation that he does not score the important goals that became the hallmark of Didier Drogba at the club.

Soldado, meanwhile, has managed 11 in 29 outings—with six coming in the league. Though more of his goals this season have been crucial to the outcome of the game.

Neither man particularly shines on the assists front either, with the Tottenham forward edging it 4-3 over his Chelsea counterpart in the league.

Sometimes it is argued that Torres is a better all-round team player than the goal statistics suggest.

At Fulham last week, he found himself dropping deeper—almost to play as a No. 10 to Andre Schurrle's cameo performance at centre-forward.

But the figures don't bear this out over time.

Torres averages 15 passes per game in the league, compared with Soldado's 22.

And when we look at the success, or otherwise, of those passes, the picture becomes even clearer—the Chelsea man completing just 60 percent, to the Spurs player's 76 percent.

Figures are difficult to come by to demonstrate that other aspect of team-work, tracking back.

But, anecdotally, Torres probably slightly edges it in terms of defensive mobility and impact.

Comparing Torres with Soldado is ultimately an academic exercise—they are essentially two different players, playing different roles within different systems.

But the one easy comparison that sticks in both cases is this: An awful lot more is expected of both if they are ever to fully justify their inflated price tags.