Throughout pre-season and the early stages of the Premier League campaign, Jose Mourinho has emphasised the importance of having three forwards available as he plots Chelsea’s assault toward silverware this season, per Sky Sports.
Diego Costa has hit the ground running after his big-money move from Atletico Madrid with two goals in two games, while veteran striker Didier Drogba has emerged from the bench twice to make cameo appearances. But up to now, Fernando Torres has been nowhere to be seen; the Spaniard didn’t even make the squad for Chelsea’s game against Leicester City.
These early games have afforded us a stark insight into what Mourinho feels his forward pecking order is at Stamford Bridge, and with Torres clearly trailing both Costa and Drogba, speculation is naturally rife about the Spaniard’s future.
Subsequently, talk has already begun about who could potentially replace the former Liverpool man should Chelsea bid him "adios." Here’s the very latest on Chelsea’s reported pursuit of an exciting Serie A striker and the latest speculation when it comes to Torres’ future.
Blues Reportedly In Talks With Mattia Destro
AS Roma forward Mattia Destro is in talks with Chelsea about a £20 million move to Stamford Bridge. That’s according to the player’s agent, Claudio Vigorelli, who has insisted Mourinho is a big admirer of the player, per AlfredoPedulla.com (h/t Nick Lustig of the Daily Star):
I cannot deny he is at the centre of some important situations that could develop. More Milan or Chelsea? The market is unpredictable. These are two interested clubs. Jose Mourinho admires him, while Milan could make some important steps forward very soon.
The 23-year-old caught the eye last season with some superb performances for Rudi Garcia’s Roma side. Despite being relatively young, he topped the club’s goalscoring stakes with 13 goals in just 20 appearances, per WhoScored.com, helping the Giallorossi finish in a Champions League berth.
Here’s a taste of what Chelsea would potentially be getting for their £20 million:
A surprise exclusion from Italy’s World Cup squad, Destro is a player who would add a different dimension to Chelsea’s forward line. Costa and Drogba are both burly target men, but Destro is a skilful striker, capable of drifting wide, dropping into midfield and stretching the opposition defence with his pace.
There are lingering questions about his temperament—he was banned for three games after punching Davide Astori in the face back in April, per Sky Sports—but if Mourinho is an admirer, he obviously thinks he can work past that. Heeding the Portuguese's aforementioned quotes, you would suspect the chances of this deal happening hinge on the future of Torres.
Milan Target Torres As Mario Balotelli Replacement
After Italian striker Mario Balotelli was sold to Liverpool, Milan are in the market for a centre-forward. And with Chelsea looking as though they could pip the Rossoneri to Destro’s signature, Torres has reportedly been cited as a player who could spearhead the attack at the San Siro.
That’s according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, who claims that the Italian giants are in talks with Chelsea about a loan deal for the former Liverpool man. Although, according to the piece, the Torres camp are pushing for a permanent transfer.
According to beIN Sports' Italian expert Matteo Bonetti, given Milan’s budget, Torres would represent a much more realistic option than the pricey Destro:
After a spell at Chelsea that has seen Torres' stock plummet, the time is surely right for him to go in search of pastures new. Not only is his confidence seemingly at rock bottom, but he’s looking at getting very few chances in the first team given the form of Costa and the club’s affinity with Drogba.
Admittedly, misses like this in pre-season did little to help his cause:
Torres is 30 years old now, and if he has any intentions of injecting fresh impetus into his career then Milan would be an excellent move for him. Not only would he be the main man leading the attack, but he’d get a fresh start, a manager who believes in him and the chance to play in a league that’s nowhere near as physically demanding as England's top flight.
Milan—a massive club in their own right—would be the ideal place for Torres to try and rediscover something resembling the player we saw at Liverpool. Another season struggling at Stamford Bridge would surely leave his career in tatters.