Chelsea’s love affair with Fernando Torres has rarely been a happy one. Despite moments when it seemed as if the old Torres – the one who dismantled defences every weekend for Liverpool – would make an appearance at Stamford Bridge, his form has never again reached those heights.
It now appears that he and Chelsea could be offered a way out of their respective hells with the Daily Mirror reporting that his boyhood team, Atletico Madrid are sniffing around for a loan deal.
The reports are that Atletico will make their move this summer, possibly as a replacement for Radamel Falcao, who is at the top of the transfer agenda for many managers.
Unlike the move to the Blues, Torres would be unlikely to need a bedding in period if he did return to Spain. Being born and bred at Atletico, rising through the ranks, means that he could expect a rapturous welcome. A record of 75 goals, almost one every other game, also ticks the boxes.
The player himself has alluded to his allegiances. Last August he said:
I am not hiding who I am, which team I support and to which club I owe more than any other, and I hope…it will continue like that.“
Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is a staunch fan of El Nino and revealed in the Mirror that the £50million man would soon be loved again. He said:
The fans loved Torres when he was scoring and giving everything. They will love him again when he starts scoring goals again. They will appreciate the effort.”
The time for excuses, however, has passed. A record of 14 goals at this stage of the season is by no means catastrophic. Indeed, it is not a bad return for any striker.
Nonetheless, Torres has been an ill timed and misguided mistake. When he signed for Chelsea in January 2011 the statement of intent was clear. His record at Liverpool, apart from an inconsistent spell leading up to the transfer, had made him one of the most terrifying players in world football.
That reputation has all but dissolved in the ensuing 24 months. Instead of an expectation of goals, and lots of them, fans now expect a disenchanted, lacklustre spectre of a man. Whereby previously the brilliance was a flick of a boot away, it is now hidden in the depths of past exploits.
A move away from these shores could revitalise that lost magic, and what better place to find it than in the seeds of where it all began. But, should that fail, Monaco, Juventus, Besiktas and Paris St Germain are all said to be keeping tabs on the situation.