Fernando Torres could stay at Chelsea despite Diego Costa deal

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Fernando Torres looks as if could be staying at Chelsea this summer, with the striker having been informed by the club that he still has a future at Stamford Bridge despite the imminent arrival of Diego Costa.

The Blues are reportedly close to sealing a £32 million deal for the Atletico Madrid striker and The Sun report that while Costa is set to be the club's first-choice forward, it is also claimed that manager Jose Mourinho has moved to assure Torres that he can still succeed in West London.

Indeed, the same source further speculates - with the help of an unnamed Chelsea source - that of Torres and fellow striker Demba Ba, it is the latter who appears more likely to depart during the next transfer window.

Whether such an assurance will be enough to convince Torres to remain at Chelsea and continue to battle for a starting berth remains to be seen.

While it is certainly true that the 30-year-old has routinely failed to live up to the extravagant £50 million price tag that accompanied his move to the capital from Liverpool back in 2011, some of the criticism aimed at the Spanish international has, in my view at least, been far too strong and often totally unfair.

It is painfully obvious - and has been for quite some time - that Torres is never again likely to hit the same heights that saw him become one of the most-feared strikers on the planet during his stint at Anfield and the sooner certain pundits and critics realise that and move on the better.

Given that his best days in the game are now firmly in the past, Torres is no longer an ideal man to lead an attack on a consistent basis for a team with ambitions of both domestic and European success.

However, it could be that the former Atletico Madrid starlet goes on to thrive with the weight of expectation upon his shoulders considerably lifted by the arrival of a striker of Costa's undoubted quality.

After a truly fearsome 2013/14 season during which time he scored 27 goals in just 35 games to bring the La Liga title back to the Vicente Calderon for the first time in almost two decades, the physically imposing Costa - who will compete with Torres for a place in Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering Spain side at this summer's World Cup in Brazil - appears well capable of handling the limelight and is a far superior option to the recently departed figure of Samuel Eto'o.

And while Torres - as would be the case with any serious professional - will presumably be initially disappointed to see his playing time reduced, he could potentially be given the power to alter fading perceptions of his ability by carving out a new role as an effective impact substitute.

Either that, or Torres could decide that he has had enough of the Chelsea experience and that he wants to seek a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Serie A could be one potential destination, with Inter Milan said to be coveting his signature and with manager Walter Mazzarri widely expected to be in the market for a new striker to lead his own mediocre attack.

One must assume that the unresolved future of Romelu Lukaku could also have a decisive say with regards to Torres' next move.

The Belgian starlet has thrived out on loan at both West Brom and Everton as unquestionably one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League and in the event that Mourinho does decide to keep him at the Bridge, he would surely also be above Torres in the pecking order.

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Fernando Torres

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