Fernando Torres' Proposed Transfer to AC Milan Leaves Mixed Chelsea Feelings

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Fernando Torres' Proposed Transfer to AC Milan Leaves Mixed Chelsea Feelings
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Chelsea will "analyse any possibility" of Fernando Torres leaving the club before the transfer window closes Sept. 1, according to Jose Mourinho.

The Chelsea manager was speaking at his weekly press conference, as reported by The Times (subscription required), where, after a week of speculation, he was quizzed on Torres' future.

Mourinho explained that no official bid has been placed by AC Milan, although he did concede the Blues may allow him to leave in order for him to play regular football.

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Should Torres depart Stamford Bridge, it will bring to an end a saga that has been just as tormenting for the club and its fans as it has for the player.

Torres arrived for £50 million from Liverpool in January 2011, becoming the poster boy of the new Chelsea in the process.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was eager to develop the team's style, moving on from the system Mourinho had put in place when he first arrived in the summer of 2004.

The physical attributes of Didier Drogba had led the line for Chelsea, but more slight and capable of playing football the way Abramovich craved, Torres was seen as the future.

It's never quite worked out that way, though.

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Torres took 15 games to score his first goal in Chelsea colours, coming in a 3-0 win over West Ham. From then on, the expectation was that he would rediscover his goalscoring form. He hasn't.

Yet attend a game at Stamford Bridge and you wouldn't know it.

Torres remains a much-loved character in west London, his name cheered with gusto at every mention. The fans have stayed with him in the hope he would return to the player who had tormented them in a Liverpool shirt.

It's been a relationship based on loyalty, with fans unwilling to turn their back on a man who chose them over their rivals.

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There's a little more to it than that, too.

In his autobiography I Think Therefore I Play, Andrea Pirlo discussed the virtues of goalscorers always receiving the accolades when it comes to awards season: the theory being they're the players who score the goals, so they're automatically seen as the world's most gifted and are thrown under the spotlight.

But what about the players who feed them with their chances?

Torres is a man who knows about them all too well.

"Big name collector cards sell season tickets," says Pirlo. "But it's the glue they have behind them that wins games."

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In that instance, Pirlo is discussing defenders and the role they play. What he also alludes to is how other players, whether they be defenders or midfielders, create the chances for strikers to score.

What about them?

At Liverpool, the team was built around getting the ball to Steven Gerrard, who in turn set Torres free.

In Chelsea's system, it doesn't quite work like that. It never has.

Chelsea do not play football where a striker of Torres' ilk can flourish. Diego Costa and Drogba, sure, but not Torres.

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He's a player who needs to play on the last man's shoulder, reacting quickly to break the line and get through on goal.

Liverpool played to those strengths. Only at Stamford Bridge, he's had to adapt to a whole new system that isn't just about him.

It's about Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar; it was about Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda and others.

There are more than two stars at Chelsea, and they all need to shine.

Chelsea fans understand that. They also understand the endeavour from Torres to transform his game.

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If we judge him by the goals he has scored, Torres has failed in that regard. But there has been so much more he has given that statistics may not highlight, but hasn't gone unnoticed on the terraces.

From the outsider's perspective, he's a £50 million striker, though. And when a club pays that amount of money for a front man, he needs to be hitting 20 goals a season. That's the minimum requirement.

There will be some Chelsea fans happy to see the back of Torres and others who choose to look at things from another perspective.

What isn't up for debate is that his confidence is shot. In west London at least.

Torres carries too much baggage these days and he carries it onto the pitch for every performance he makes.

A change may see him leave that behind, although after three-and-a-half years at Chelsea, it appears the weight of the load will only increase.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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