Fernando Torres: Multi-Million Pound Flop or Signing of the Season?

Will J BakerCorrespondent IIIApril 3, 2011

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Fernando Torres of Chelsea replaces Nicolas Anelka as a second half substituteduring the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Five starts and two months into his Chelsea career, £50 million striker Fernando Torres has yet to open his account for the Blues. This has drawn criticism from football fans and pundits alike, the general consensus being that Ancelotti and Abramovich overpaid for El Niño.

But despite his exorbitant transfer fee, Torres is a player who most managers would love to have at their disposal.

Although the Spanish striker has not found the net so far in his Chelsea career, he needs to be given time to settle into a whole new lifestyle in the capital, and a whole new playing style.

Torres was a cult hero at Athletico Madrid and one of the youngest captains in the club's history. The reason that the Liverpool fans have taken his betrayal so badly is because Torres was such a favorite on the Anfield terraces.

Given time and investment, Torres will be able to win over the Chelsea faithful in the same way.

He has already shown more desire to track back or to close down defenders than he was in his closing matches on Merseyside and he seems to be enjoying his football more.

He has clearly not been fully fit since his injury in the World Cup Final, and he played so much football during the previous campaign that it was inevitable that his body would give out at some point. Ancelotti and the Chelsea physiotherapists need to nurture Torres back to peak condition. 

But he also needs match time in which to regain his sharpness and lethal goalscoring touch that he showed during his time at Liverpool with an impressive 65 goals in 102 appearances.

Many people have been critical of the somewhat excessive amount of money paid for Torres, but unlike previous Abramovich signings, Chelsea's new No. 9 is an investment rather than a short term fix.

Torres is no Andrey Shevchenko whose best years were behind him when he moved to Stamford Bridge. Torres recently celebrated his 27th birthday and he should have five seasons of his best football left in him.

If Drogba and Anelka leave in the summer, then Torres will become the focal point of the attack, and there is no doubt in my mind that Torres can take on the pressure that comes with this key role.

I know that it is difficult for Chelsea fans to accept a lack of goals from a forward with his price tag, but patience is necessary. Thierry Henry did not score in his first eight matches but turned into one of the best players in Premier League history.

Fernando Torres is a proven player on the world stage and I am confident that, eventually, he will hit the goalscoring heights of his Liverpool days once again.