Fernando Torres hasn’t had the best of times at Chelsea, signing at Stamford Bridge for £50 million in a controversial move from Liverpool last January.
At the time, the Spanish striker was out of form after returning from injury at Anfield, and despite brief glimpses of his ability over that festive period, it looked like the Blues were paying over the odds for the player.
If that was a point that needed proving, ‘El Nino’ then struggled to make a significant mark in west London, scoring just seven goals in the 46 Premier League games that followed.
Didier Drogba was always looming large over the former Atletico Madrid starlet, and the pair were unable to form a worthwhile partnership for any of the managers they played under (Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo).
His brief moments of success acted as nothing more than flirtation with the fans, as Torres was unable to follow up his hat-trick against QPR or goal at Barcelona with serious consistency. Instead, Drogba stole the limelight in what turned out to be his final season at the club.
A summer departure for China followed, and whilst the Ivorian’s exit might not have been what the supporters wanted, it certainly leaves the 28-year-old Spaniard with a much more important role next season.
Torres thrives on being the main man, and he showed in Sunday’s FA Community Shield that he’s ready and able to lead the line on his own. Let’s not forget, this out of form forward won the Golden Boot with Spain at this summer’s European Championships. He also brought home a winners medal.
If that doesn’t do the trick for his confidence then nothing will.
Torres wouldn’t be the only player to turn things around in the Premier League if next season is a good one, with a whole host of players struggling one season and then making a major impact the next.
At Arsenal, legendary striker Thierry Henry struggled to settle initially, before going on to become the club’s all-time leading scorer. French midfielder Robert Pires also struggled to impress after joining Arsene Wenger’s revolution. Both went on to be part of the club’s ‘invincible’ season.
Welsh winger Gareth Bale took plenty of time to settle at Tottenham Hotspur, failing to get a Premier League victory under his belt for two years and 24 Premier League matches. He is now the club’s most valuable asset.
At Liverpool, midfielder Lucas Leiva was a hate figure with the fans after signing from Gremio in 2007, but he’s turned things around at Anfield in the last few years, and is now regarded as one of the Reds’ most influential players when fit.
Manchester United winger Luis Nani struggled with comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo when he first arrived at Old Trafford, and was heavily criticised for giving the ball away frequently. But, in the last few seasons, he’s taken on more responsibility, and added an end product to his prodigious talent.
These are just a handful of great examples that Torres will be looking to follow on the King’s Road this season, and the signs look extremely positive with just four days to go until the start of the season.