6 Reasons Why Chelsea's Fernando Torres Would Thrive in Serie A
The weight of his £50 million transfer has been too heavy a burden, and the previously prolific star has looked a shadow of the devastating force he was at Liverpool. Now a 30-year-old who has suffered four consecutive poor seasons at Stamford Bridge, many expect him to move on this summer, with Jose Mourinho making his opinion of the player very clear.
Speaking shortly after seeing his side were comprehensively beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the Portuguese coach let it be known he wasn't impressed with the strikers at his disposal. He told reporters during the post-game press conference (via Guardian Sport):
Football is not just about that. It's also about scoring goals, getting behind, and that is for strikers. Real strikers. And I had to try. We are not out, and we have nothing to lose now.
With numerous outlets openly discussing his exit—including Matt Law of The Telegraph—the following pages highlight six reasons why Serie A would be the perfect destination for Torres.
1. It Isn’t England
The biggest reason for a switch to Italy is that it isn’t England, and getting away from the Premier League is perhaps the best career move for Fernando Torres this summer. The press have lampooned his poor scoring record, and his every miss and scoreless game results in more and more criticism.
Moving to the peninsula could provide the same fresh start it has for Mario Balotelli. The former Manchester City striker has made an instant impact upon his return to Serie A, and he currently has 30 goals in 50 games for Milan. Torres could enjoy a similar rebirth.
2. He Is Still Admired in Italy
While Torres’ reputation has been damaged beyond repair in England, the striker still has many admirers across the continent. Should he decide to move to Serie A, he would likely have a lengthy list of suitors, with some of Europe’s biggest clubs joining the race to sign him.
Chief among them is new Inter owner Erick Thohir. The Nerazzurri president has made public his intention to try to secure the signature of the former Liverpool star. Speaking to Bola (h/t FootballItalia) he said:
We need to sign a striker. The rumours indicate players like Dzeko, Torres and Morata, it would be good if one of those came to us.
3. Counter-Attacking Football Reigns
While Chelsea enjoy 55.4 per cent of possession according to stats site WhoScored.com, they are one of just nine teams to enjoy more than a 54 per cent share of the ball in the Premier League. It is very different in Italy however, with just six teams managing that number.
There is much more counter-attacking football in Serie A, with even teams like Roma and Juventus looking to strike quickly on the break, something hardly any of England’s biggest clubs do. This plays perfectly into the style best suited to Fernando Torres, with even Jose Mourinho acknowledging it as a strength of the Spaniard.
Speaking to reporters back in December, the Chelsea coach said (via ESPN):
Without the ball he presses a lot and he's not a comfortable opponent. When the team has the ball he's the kind of guy that makes movements and tries to open space.
He does his contribution and it's the kind of goal we demand from him. Goalkeeper saves the ball, he's there, pow, goal. And this is the kind of goal we expect from him.
4. A Country for Old(er) Men
It would be somewhat clichéd to say that older players last longer in Italy, but when it comes to strikers it rings true. Antonio Di Natale and Alessandro Del Piero have both won the league’s top scorer crown after turning 30, which only serves to highlight a trend on the peninsula.
While 24-year-old Ciro Immobile currently tops the goal chart, four of the top six are veteran strikers. Luca Toni, Rodrigo Palacio, Alberto Gilardino and Carlos Tevez have all scored 14 or more league goals this term.
5. There Are Some Ideal Opportunities
While Serie A seems to suit Torres, there are also a number of clubs in Italy who need a player with his characteristics. Miroslav Klose’s future with Lazio is uncertain, Inter will need a new striker this summer and even at Milan he could take a lead role with Mario Balotelli playing behind him.
6. Spanish Players Are Thriving There
After years of seeing very few Spanish players make an impact in Italy, recent seasons have seen a number of Torres’ compatriots thrive on the peninsula. Fernando Llorente is in fine form for Juventus, Fiorentina’s intelligent side is built around Borja Valero and Jose Callejon has been sensational for Napoli.
With others such as Joaquin and Raul Albiol also finding their feet in Italy, it is clear Torres could also benefit from a move to Serie A.