Fernando Torres is enduring another frustrating campaign with just four goals in Premier League play for Chelsea, which has led to questions about a potential move. Jose Mourinho took strides to quiet that talk on Friday by stating the striker his has a future with the Blues.
The club passed along comments from the outspoken manager ahead of a weekend clash with Stoke City. On the topic of Torres, he spoke positively of the 30-year-old Spanish international and the desire is there from all sides for him to contribute more frequently:
Mourinho: 'Torres has a future at Chelsea. He has a contract, is a good pro & works well for the team, We & he want him to score more.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) April 4, 2014
Mourinho also said he remains confident Torres can find a way to make an impact during the season's final stretch as Chelsea chase the Premier League title:
Mourinho says he believes that Torres can have good moments in the remaining matches this season. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) April 4, 2014
Those comments come after Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail reported Torres was ready to "dig his heels in" when it came to his massive contract, which is set to run two more years. He's currently making £175,000 per week with Chelsea.
The report goes on to state Torres isn't planning to accept any type of transfer agreement unless some type of deal is struck with his contract. It's led to problems for the Blues as they start planning for the summer transfer window:
But the striker will not be forced out until he has an agreement over his contract. After two-and-a-half years in the English capital, his family have settled despite initial problems when he arrived from Liverpool in 2011.
Chelsea have already conceded they will not be able to command a big transfer fee, but the exit negotiations are now fraught with difficulties.
Torres has been notoriously streaky during his time at Stamford Bridge. He scored just 12 goals in 67 matches across all competitions over his first two seasons with the club.
It looked like he might have turned the corner last season when he topped the 20-goal mark and displayed more confidence in front of goal. That didn't carry over to the current campaign, however, and it's led to an inconsistent role.
Where will Torres be playing next season?
Getting a vote of confidence from Mourinho is obviously a positive, although actions speak louder than words, so it will be interesting to see how Torres is used over the final weeks. It's also impossible to know what's going on behind the scenes.
Ultimately, the best option available would probably be for the two sides to separate after the season. Torres could use a fresh start and Chelsea needs to move in a new direction at striker following a stretch of lackluster production atop the formation.
That said, it's impossible to blame Torres for wanting to keep his huge contract and no other club is likely to match it given the uncertainty surrounding what he would bring to the table. So it makes for a tricky situation if Chelsea do want to move him.
Mourinho bought the club some time with his positive outlook on Torres' status, but it's still something to monitor moving forward.