Chelsea Transfer News: Fernando Torres Eyed as Mario Balotelli Replacement

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Chelsea Transfer News: Fernando Torres Eyed as Mario Balotelli Replacement
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Chelsea might finally be able to offload one-time £50 million flop Fernando Torres. Just when fans of the Blues may have believed a buyer would never emerge, Serie A side AC Milan reportedly consider Torres a possible replacement for Liverpool-bound Mario Balotelli.

A report from David Amoyat at GianlucaDiMarzio.com has listed Torres as one of three strikers the Rossoneri will target in the wake of Balotelli's pending departure. FC Porto hitman Jackson Martinez is the club's top choice, but Torres is reportedly a prime alternative:

Milan is also working over possible alternatives: Galliani’s phone is working over time, many strikers have been offered on loan today including Man United’s Hernandez and Chelsea’s Torres (Galliani had a conversation with his entourage today). There are also other possible targets like Soldado and Muriel, but they are more difficult to acquire. Milan is working on finding Balotelli’s replacement.

It's not the first time in the last 24 hours Torres has been linked with a move to Italy. A swap deal for AS Roma forward Mattia Destro was also recently proposed, per Gary Jacobs of The Times (h/t Metro).

However, that idea was soon ruled out by Destro's agent, according to Press Association Sport via Sky Sports:

It's true that Chelsea are interested in Mattia. But the reports regarding a swap deal have no foundation, it's all speculation.

Roma don't want to sell Mattia and Mattia prefers to remain at Roma.

It's clear Milan need to add to their striking options with Balotelli close to a £16 million switch to Anfield. Another report from Sky Sports suggests a so-called "behaviour clause" is still being worked on before that deal can be completed.

However, the wheels are certainly in motion on that transfer, but the question is whether Torres is an ideal replacement? The 30-year-old has been lacking in confidence in front of goal for some time now.

Yet for all his problems, the Spaniard remains an experienced winner, with the skill and guile to still trouble any defence. He's obviously a player in need of a move to revive his career and help him enjoy the game again. A switch to Serie A, where the pace of play is a little slower than the Premier League, could be the perfect tonic for his woes.

Of course, that relies on Chelsea finally giving up on the incredible investment they made in the former Liverpool star back in January 2011. That probably won't be an issue for manager Jose Mourinho, who has tended not to trust Torres too often.

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There were conflicting reports in late-July about Mourinho's intentions regarding Torres. Matt Law of The Telegraph claimed Mourinho was desperate to "find a buyer for Torres."

But a few days later, Mourinho appeared to express a desire to retain Torres, during an interview with Sky Sports News (h/t Eurosport.Yahoo.com writer Tom Adams): “For sure. Three strikers is fundamental in the squad and we have three, Nando is one of them.”

As Mourinho pointed out, there is a numbers issue to be considered at Stamford Bridge. He has already ditched Samuel Eto'o, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku from his striker ranks this summer.

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Chelsea have already dumped several strikers this summer.

The Chelsea chief has brought veteran favourite Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge to play deputy to marquee signing Diego Costa. Perhaps Mourinho feels that pair will be enough to help Chelsea compete for a quartet of trophies this season.

In truth, he's probably right. Chelsea don't need Torres and can afford to let him walk. As willing and mobile target men, both Costa and Drogba are certainly better suited to how Mourinho likes to play. Chelsea can also push nominal wide attackers such as Andre Schurrle and Willian into the middle if needed.

If Milan make a cash offer for Torres, Chelsea would be crazy not to accept it. They'll never recoup their initial outlay in the disappointing star, but now is the perfect time to move on from that ill-fated deal.

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