Chelsea Transfer News: Fernando Torres Sparks Inter and Atletico Madrid Battle

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea applauds the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage on March 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Fernando Torres will spark a summer bidding war between Inter Milan and former club Atletico Madrid, according to reports.

Inter are said to be keen on Torres and John Obi Mikel—admiration that may have strengthened after Jose Mourinho failed to start either player during their crucial Champions League victory over Galatasaray

The Serie A side were represented at the Stamford Bridge clash, as reported by Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail:

Inter Milan's sporting director Piero Ausilio was at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night to pursue his interest in Chelsea's Fernando Torres.

[...] Walter Mazzarri is anxious to boost his attacking options and has also prioritised a defensive midfielder, with John Mikel Obi an option.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 02:   Fernando Torres of Chelsea heads for the bench as a substitute with team mate John Obi Mikel (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Sto
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Atletico, the club that helped propel Torres to international stardom, are also courting the former Liverpool favourite—reported by Wayne Veysey of

The Spanish club have expressed an interest in re-signing their former striker, either on loan or a permanent deal in the summer.

Torres, 29, is believed to have been offered, via third parties, to a number of clubs around Europe but he has two years remaining on a contract worth around £150,000-a-week and his salary demands represent a significant hurdle for many of his admirers.

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Barlow points out Erick Thohir, Inter's new owner, is amongst those who struggle to justify Torres' wage demands, but there's no denying both players are likely to be offloaded if the correct offer comes in.

Samuel Eto'o's early goal gave Chelsea the initiative during their second-leg tie, putting the Blues 2-1 up on aggregate before Gary Cahill's header sealed the result. While Piero Ausilio and Walter Mazzarri may have enjoyed the performance of Eto'o, a former Inter star, they were allegedly present to keep tabs on the San Siro's next potential hitman.

James Olley of The London Evening Standard believes Torres isn't in Mourinho's plans for important matches, highlighted by his five-minute substitute appearance during the club's latest European battle:

You have to wonder what Fernando Torres makes of it all. Perpetually upstaged by Didier Drogba during the Ivorian’s time at Chelsea, the night his nemesis returned to Stamford Bridge also provided further evidence that Samuel Eto’o will be Jose Mourinho’s man for the big occasion.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18:  Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea shoots past Aurelien Chedjou of Galatasaray to score their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea and Galatasaray AS at Stamford Bridge on March 18, 201
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Torres' season has stuttered with injuries and poor performances, analysis that sums up much of his Chelsea career. He replaced Eto'o with five minutes to go against Galatasaray, despite netting in the opening leg, to reach his 26th appearance of the season.

The Spaniard has scored seven goals during this combined total of Premier League and Champions League matches, per, but is unlikely to remain in Mourinho's thoughts for too long. The boss is expected to bring at least one new striker during the summer, per James Goldman of, forcing Torres out the door in the process.

Inter may be able to broker a double deal that includes Mikel, who has also struggled to assert his dominance this season. Mourinho has typically preferred Ramires in a defensive midfield role and hinted Mikel is surplus to requirements when he signed Nemanja Matic from Benfica in January.

Atletico's lure may prove too much for Torres, especially considering his legendary status at the club. Diego Costa continues to be linked with a move away from the Vicente Calderon, reported by Daniel Harris of The Guardian, suggesting the Rojiblancos may have to replace yet another world-class forward.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 15:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea is blocked by Ron Vlaar of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park on March 15, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Torres' big-money departure was later mimicked by Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao's excellence initiating the same occurrence, with Costa expected to follow suit at some point in the near future. Heading back to Madrid may be just the remedy for Torres, who has struggled since leaving Merseyside in 2011.

The player hits his 30th birthday on March 20 and will only have a couple of major contracts left in him. Torres is a player who needs to be loved to continually play well, something that will definitely occur if he links up with Diego Simeone.

A proven goalscorer at all levels of the game, perhaps a move will see the once great striker return to former glory.





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