Fernando Torres: Shevchenko-Mark 2, Owen 2 or Both?

Gary M. ThomasContributor IIFebruary 7, 2011

Torres trudges off
Torres trudges offScott Heavey/Getty Images

While accepting that this may come across as gleeful gloating, especially in light of yesterday’s result, the title above is something I’ve thought about since Feb first—it just happened to be reinforced a bit yesterday.

First re the Shevchenko comparison: both came for what were believed to be inflated fees.  Shevchenko was a few years older than Torres is now when he went to Chelsea, but he was still doing a job for Milan.

In both instances though, they seemed to an outsider, to be ‘vanity’ type buys made by Mr. Abramovich—in the case of the former; “just because”, and in last month’s case, as a panic buy accelerated by Chelsea’s performance this season.

In both instances again, it seemed that the respective Managers (Mourinho & Ancelotti) were pretty blasé about the addition, and (while its only been one game), it appears that Ancelotti may have just as much trouble fitting Torres in. 

Both Torres & Drogba are better in a 4231 or 433 formation with them as the focused tip.  However, like with Mourinho’s new US $50M man then, it is hardly surprising that Ancelotti may feel obligated to play his US $80M man now; after all, you don’t pay that much for a sub (unless you’re Man City).  It seems Ancelotti is going to have some big decisions ahead of him, both with his selections, and his own future.

Re the Owen comparison: this one was more based on what Torres said last week, i.e. about joining a better team to win the Champions League.  This is almost verbatim what Owen said when he arrived at Real Madrid, and we all know how that’s turned out for him since (with the team he left behind winning that season’s Champions League).

Now, obviously Liverpool won’t be winning either the Premier/Champions League this season, and Torres presently is (potentially) much better than Owen was when he left, but putting aside my Liverpool bias and looking objectively at both Chelsea and Liverpool, I think that Liverpool has more of a chance at getting one or both those trophies in the near future than Chelsea does.

This season is as much dead for Chelsea as it is for Liverpool.  The League title is between Man United and Arsenal (go Arsenal!), and while Copenhagen should be relatively easy for Chelsea, can anyone really see beyond Barcelona this year.

In the summer, Chelsea will be faced with an even bigger rebuilding than Liverpool, since most of their first 11 are over 30, and they have no youth policy to speak of.  Abramovich may once again be in the mood to spend big, but with next season being the first to count towards the new UEFA financial restrictions; it’s difficult to see how they can spend anything significant in light of their US$115M loss in their last fiscal year.

While Roy Hodgson and the majority of the English media were spinning how crappy this current LFC team is, Kenny Dalglish has shown that to be the cop-out lie that it always was—imagine if he was in charge from the start!  The team already has a superior (& younger) strike force in place—with a zilch net spend in Jan—so there’s money to spend on two or three top players to compliment the ones we have, which includes a half-dozen Under 21’s who’ve grabbed their chances this year.

That’s not to say that I’ve entirely given up on fourth this year.  While being accused of wishful thinking in early Jan, I always maintained that once Kenny replaced Hodgson, LFC had a chance to make the top four, even with the massive hole we were left in.  It seems after yesterday, many more are starting to believe that again…and what would Fernando think/do if it were at the expense of his new and "better" team…maybe he can ask Michael Owen.