On January’s transfer deadline day in 2011, there were two huge transfers made right at the end of the window. I was just about to leave the house and remember stopping dead in my tracks when I heard the news that Fernando Torres had been purchased by Chelsea for £50 million.
As a Chelsea fan I was delighted, yes, Torres had suffered a dip in form but I was well aware that Chelsea had attempted to purchase the Spaniard in the previous summer for £70 million. A bargain, I thought, Chelsea is going to win the league, I thought.
I thought wrong.
No matter what happened over the next few months until the end of the season, the Chelsea fans never gave up on Torres and I am proud to say I was there when he scored his only goal for Chelsea that season versus West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. I think the fans celebrated more in that moment than they did when Chelsea won the Champions League.
So surely, we thought it’ll come from here. He’ll start scoring goals again right? Well no, not really.
Torres has scored 32 goals for Chelsea since his £50 million move from Liverpool. He has been branded a waste of money by supporters of other teams and more recently, ironically too as he’s having his best season for Chelsea, his own fans.
When I think of Torres, however, I can’t help but thinking of some of the important goals he has scored for Chelsea. The second goal in the Barcelona Champions League semi-final, for example, or even more recently saving Chelsea from embarrassment in the FA Cup by netting an 83rd minute equaliser against League One minnows, Brentford.
Does Torres look like a £50 million player? No. Not by a long, long way. However, all the media attention seems to have been focused on him and the other big deadline day move from January 2011 seems to have been quietly forgotten.
Enter Andrew Carroll, who cost Liverpool £35 million.
Carroll could have been a bargain. He’d been scoring for fun, it seemed, at Newcastle United and it seemed like a logical choice given that at the time he had scored 11 goals in 18 Premier League games for Newcastle and he was just 22 to boot. However, when you look at the stats Carroll was anything but a bargain, despite youth still being on his side.
Torres has scored 32 goals since joining Chelsea, including 20 this season alone. His cost per goal is around £1.56 million. Hardly a bargain, of course but lets look at Carroll by way of comparison.
Carroll has scored 16 goals since joining Liverpool for £35 million. His cost per goal in that span is £2.19 million. How has somebody who has been both a) very, very poor when it comes to scoring goals and b) very, very injury prone been given such a wide berth by the press and travelling fans?
At least Torres has scored important goals for club and country and sold millions of shirts around the world to supplement his inflated transfer fee. What has Carroll done? But wait! There’s more.
Five of Carroll’s 16 goals have not even been for Liverpool! They have been for West Ham United, whom he's currently enjoying a rather more fruitful spell with on loan. If we take this into account we have Carroll sitting on a cost per goal (for Liverpool) of £3.2 million. The mind, frankly, boggles.
"Oh but Carroll has played less games, so it’s not really a fair indication of how well he’s doing," you might say. So let us look at it a different way.
Torres has taken 256 shots for Chelsea since joining, resulting in 32 goals. This computes to a result of eight shots for every goal he's scored.
Carroll has taken 194 shots in the same period for Liverpool and West Ham United, resulting in 16 goals. This computes to a result of 12.1 shots for every goal scored.
Games per goal, you ask? Torres has scored 32 in 122 games for Chelsea, averaging a goal every 3.81 games. Carroll has 16 in 75, giving him a goal every 4.7 games in total. He has 11 in 58 for Liverpool, which gives him a goal every 5.29 games. Trust me, I’ve covered every angle here.
It is not just the fact that Carroll has scored less goals, it’s that as much as Torres can look ineffectual off of the ball, sometimes running into defenders rather than around them, Carroll still looks much, much worse.
Yet the press perpetuates the 'waste of money' that is Fernando Torres. Given the intangibles, I think Torres’ value has probably averaged out. He’s not a world-beater anymore (though he did win the Golden Boot at Euro 2012), but if you want to point a finger at a real waste of money, point to Andy Carroll.
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