Chelsea Transfer News: Petr Cech Must Trump Fernando Torres in Quota Compliance

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2014

COBHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 21:  Fernando Torres, Mitchell Beeney and Petr Cech during the Chelsea Training Serssion at Chelsea Training Ground on April 21, 2014 in Cobham, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Chelsea will have to make a tough decision in deciding which players to shift this summer in order meet the Premier League's quota on foreign players, with either Fernando Torres or Petr Cech in the reckoning to leave Stamford Bridge.

After bringing Didier Drogba back to the club on a one-year contract, the Blues now have 18 overseas players over the age of 21 in their likely squad of 25, per the The Telegraph's Matt Law.

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - JULY 27: Team manager of Chelsea Jose Mourinho looks on prior the Pre Season Friendly match between FC Olimpija Ljubljana and Chelsea at Stozice stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Get
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

However, if it were to come down to a battle for who should leave, the club must do all within their power to facilitate the Spanish striker's departure and ensure Cech remains a part of their setup.

Manager Jose Mourinho is quoted by Law in placing a new emphasis upon the club's restructured priority for the youth to excel as well as giving more detail on the current quota situation:

From the group you are expecting us to have as a squad, I have to send one away because we have one extra foreign player. So from all these players, if you think all of them have to stay, you are wrong. One of them has to go.

My conscience is, for example, to say to you that I think Baker, Brown, Solanke, if in a few years they are not national team players, I should blame myself. They are part of a process the club started without me. Now, we have players who will be Chelsea players. ...

And when they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure. I'm not saying we're doing it just for English football, because it is also about us. And I have this feeling that our academy is bringing players to our level. Chelsea will have a strong team with Christensen, Baker, Brown, Solanke, Boga and Kurt Zouma in two or three years, which is the end of my contract.

English guys or seven or eight guys from the academy – home-grown players. It's a complete turnaround. At the moment, you look at the Champions League list and John Terry is the only one club trained.

It's easier said than done, of course, and as Law reports, the main issue in this dilemma is finding interest in the players who aren't necessarily courting it. Cech's stock remains high, with Paris Saint-Germain mooted as a potential suitor, while the likes of Torres and John Obi Mikel are less inspiring acquisitions.

However, Chelsea's valuation of their stars also has a role to play, and if the club find they are yet to reduce their overseas quota to the necessary 17 in several weeks' time, it may be time to consider accepting the financial hit.

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - JULY 27: Didier Drogba (R) and Fernando Torres (C) of Chelsea looks on prior the Pre Season Friendly  match between FC Olimpija Ljubljana and Chelsea at Stozice stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Srdja
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

It was reported by the Daily Mail's Simon Jones last week that Atletico Madrid would be willing to re-sign former prodigy Torres—but the maximum they're willing to pay is £14 million.

Three-and-a-half years after purchasing the 30-year-old for £50 million, it would be a hefty hit to take, admittedly, but is Torres' case ever going to improve?

With two years left on his current deal, it would be difficult to imagine the striker receiving any extension on his current Stamford Bridge deal, and with Drogba, Diego Costa and arguably Romelu Lukaku all ahead of him in the pecking order, his price tag isn't likely to increase.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Thibaut Courtois of Belgium acknowledges the crowd after defeating Russia 1-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana on June 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Cech, meanwhile, can be a valuable mentor to Thibaut Courtois and, as a goalkeeper, still has a lot of years in his tank at the age of 32. Not to mention the fact that the veteran stopper proved last season he's still capable of producing his very best form.

The same certainly can't be said for Torres.

Regardless, the Mirror's Martin Lipton believes that the difficulties surrounding this debacle means Torres shall remain while Cech is sold on:

It's all a question of weighing short-term investments up against long-term alternatives. In the short term, for example, Drogba is a respectable acquisition while Torres holds little promise in either sense.

Accepting the loss in sale value is a necessary evil in such cases, and while clubs may not necessarily be banging down the hatches for talks with the likes of Mikel, a reduced price would undoubtedly garner attention.

One outside-the-box alternative would be to offload another short-term investment, Mark Schwarzer, who, despite signing a one-year extension with the club this year, could be shifted if the club really wanted it so.

In his place, home-grown youngster Jamal Blackman could gain valuable first-team experience, and having such a horde of goalkeeping talent makes little sense in the first place.

Given the particular crossroads each player is at in their careers, it would be ludicrous for Torres to rank higher than Cech in the priorities for who should stay and who should go.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  (L-R) Paulo Ferreira, Petr Cech and Fernando Torres of Chelsea take part in the end of season celebrations during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on May 19, 2013 in London, Englan
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

On one hand, a decade-long servant of the club who still has a big role to play in West London should he be permitted, and on the other, an overstated misfit whose time has run its course after too much wasted time.

Needless to say, Mourinho will have more difficult decisions to make.