Fernando Torres may finally depart Chelsea during this transfer window following over three years of disappointment at Stamford Bridge, and Atletico Madrid are the leading contenders to sign the Spain international.
Paddy Power have placed Atletico, last season’s La Liga winners, as the odds on favourites to conclude a deal for Torres before the transfer deadline, with the 29-year-old listed as 4/7 to complete a return to Madrid.
Chelsea have already moved to make a centre-forward signing of some repute this summer, recruiting Diego Costa from Atletico, and the 25-year-old will be the undoubted first-choice under Jose Mourinho for the new season.
Didier Drogba, who Torres was supposed to replace as the club’s leading marksman, has now returned to Chelsea to provide Mourinho with further options, and the former Liverpool player has suddenly found himself as the third option.
Time to leave Chelsea
A departure from west London would most certainly be the best outcome for Torres is he harbours a desire of reviving his career, although a move to Atletico may not actually be the place for him to achieve that ambition of regular first-team football.
Yes, Torres would return to the Vicente Calderon to much fanfare and he would be greeted with much adulation given the years spent with the Madrid club and the affection and connection he retains to Atletico.
However, the acquisition of Mario Mandzukic as a direct replacement for Costa means the Croatian will be the leading striker under Diego Simeone, as he should be given the goals he has provided for Bayern Munich in recent seasons.
Atletico are in need of more reinforcements in their forward department given the departures of David Villa and Adrian Lopez along with the exit of Costa, but Torres would surely have the ambition not to play second fiddle any longer.
Watch: The latest Chelsea transfer news
Time to set sights lower?
Perhaps it’s time Torres aimed his sights somewhat lower, and pursued a move to a club where he would become top dog. There would be plenty of willing takers, given the international pedigree he still has.
However, one stumbling block to such a proposed deal would be Torres’ wage expectations - with the player supposedly earning around £175,000-per-week at Chelsea. Few clubs in their right mind would be willing or able to match this, so he would surely have to drop his demands for a deal to be completed.