Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho currently finds himself in an awkward position. The Portuguese coach, in order to ensure the Blues fall in line with Premier League and Champions League home-grown player rules, must offload one of his overseas squad members.
But while Mourinho would dearly love to sell misfiring striker Fernando Torres, he might be better off flogging goalkeeper Petr Cech instead.
Cech destined for Chelsea bench
For starters, Cech will hardly feature for the Blues next season - and in the coming seasons - because of the return of Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, who is already one of the world’s elite keepers despite his tender age.
Cech has made it crystal clear to Mourinho that he has no intention of playing second-fiddle to the 22-year-old upstart - while his agent has informed the Blues that plenty of top clubs will be willing to secure the Czech Republic international’s signature if Mourinho decides to get rid.
A quick sale, therefore, is a possibility. And because he remains a world-class goalkeeper in his own right - even earning a place in last season’s PFA Premier League Team of the Year - there will be several clubs willing to offer both a hefty transfer fee for the selling club and a considerable wage packet for the player who has been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal in recent months.
Fernando Torres: Unsellable?
There is no such demand, however, for Torres - who has become virtually unsellable thanks to his disastrous spell at Stamford Bridge.
Realistically, there are only a few clubs on the planet who could finance a deal for the Spain international, who arrived at Stamford Bridge for £50 million three-and-a-half years ago.
The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona wouldn’t touch Torres for a barge pole. Atletico Madrid supporters would love to bring him back to the Vicente Calderon, but whether head coach Diego Simeone feels the same way is another matter entirely.
PSG have better strikers, as do the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Perhaps AS Monaco or AC Milan would mull over the idea. But this is a player who will cost at least £20 million to buy, plus a whopping £175,000-a-week in wages.
Torres contracted until 2016
Torres is under no obligation to leave Stamford Bridge - his contract doesn’t expire until 2016 - and, at the age of 30, he will be as keen as possible to avoid a potential decrease in wages.
If Torres was to stay at Stamford Bridge, though, it wouldn’t be the worst possible outcome for Chelsea.
Mourinho has already lost strikers Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba this summer, while Romelu Lukaku is poised to complete a permanent move to Everton - his relationship with the Chelsea boss seemingly beyond repair.
Watch: Is there life left in Torres?
Torres is happy to play the role of back-up striker to compatriot Diego Costa. He feels at home in west London now and perhaps the additions of Costa and Cesc Fabregas - two of his fellow Spain internationals - will work in his favour.
One thing’s for sure: if both Torres and Cech stay at Chelsea next season, it’s the former who would make the most appearances - and make the bigger impact.
For this reason, and to put an end to all of the uncertainty at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho should look to offload Cech as quickly as possible.
He’s been a tremendous servant to Chelsea Football Club and will be remembered as one of the Blues’ best-ever goalkeepers - but, like Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, the time has come to move on.