A few years ago the prospect of facing Fernando Torres would have struck fear into the hearts of defenders and rival fans. The Spaniard's combination of pace and his great eye for goal made him one of the most deadly and most wanted strikers in Europe.
However looking at 'El Nino' now it's hard to make the comparison between the sharpshooter he once was. The injuries and self-doubt that Torres has gone thorugh have left Chelsea with a broken man. A man who must now be seriously questioning what his future holds in football.
After taking Spain by storm in his early 20s, picking up the nickname 'El Nino' (the kid) in the process, he was finally persuaded to join Liverpool in 2007 and move away from the Vincente Calderon for a fee of £20 million. He went on to spearhead the Liverpool team, leaving European superpowers in his wake.
The Spaniard's first three seasons at Anfield were sensational. He seemed to integrate with the Liverpool side almost seemlessly, combining with Steven Gerrard's passing ability to net on regular basis putting a stop to all scepticism of his ability to deal with the physical nature of the Premier League. During his time at Merseyside he scored 81 goals in 142 appearances, making him a hero at Anfield.
In the 2009-2010 season Torres had netted 22 goals in 32 games, an impressive figure. However Torres suffered a serious knee ligament injury in April and thus left him sidelined for the rest of the season. This marked a turning point in the Spaniard's career. After returning from injury Torres seemed to be a dispirited figure and had lost some of his pace as well as his nous in front of goal. This dip in form signified an end to his once promising Premier League career. Since the financial giants Chelsea snapped Torres up for £50 million and has failed to show any semblance of form.
It seems as if the combination of serious injury as well as the loss of Benitez as manager deeply affected El Nino's footballing ability. Ever since those events we have seen a struggling figure desperately trying to net for Chelsea on a regular basis.
The new January signing of Demba Ba should have activated the warning signs for Fernando Torres. Ba seems to be encroaching on that first team spot at Chelsea. If the Spaniard can't find the form necessary to move Ba from the starting line up then it is hard to envisage a future for him at Chelsea.
One would thus assume that his career in England is coming to an end. If so, where does he go next?
Germany could be an option with possibility of Borussia Dortmund losing Lewandowski. A return to Atletico Madrid could be on the cards with inevitable loss of Falcao this summer. There could be the slightest possibility that Napoli could be interested after a potential loss of Cavani this summer. However I do not think Borussia Dortmund and Napoli will want to take the risk of signing Torres. Napoli and Dortmund need reliable strikers who will perform well on a regular basis and that is something Torres is unlikely to provide.
It seems that Torres could then be lined up for a move to the extremely wealthy leagues such as the Russian league and MLS with clubs such Anzhi Makhachkala and LA Galaxy luring Torres away from England with their money.
The future of Fernando Torres is hard to predict. However a future away from England seems to be almost an inevitability.
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