AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez, himself a recent arrival at the San Siro, believes Fernando Torres will prove himself ‘more useful’ to the club than Mario Balotelli was able to before his transfer to Liverpool.
Torres joined Milan from Chelsea on a two-year loan agreement, something that is effectively a permanent transfer away from Stamford Bridge, having failed to justify his price tag during three-and-half seasons in west London.
The Spain international, or perhaps now former international, was recruited by Milan after Balotelli had joined Liverpool for around £16 million, and it is now the task of the former to replace the mercurial striker.
Lopez certainly feels Torres can offer more than Balotelli was capable of doing, even if the Italy international did manage a decent haul of 30 goals in 54 appearances during his 18 months back in Milan.
"He's a great signing,” Lopez told the Milan Channel when asked about Torres. “We're talking about a player who has done amazing things, who has experience and speed will be important.
“Balotelli? Torres will be more useful as he has shown the characteristics needed to win.”
It is certainly a bold claim from Lopez. Torres is a player to have won almost every competition available to him, with both club and country, but in recent years at least has hardly played a role of note in these successes.
Experience is highly valued commodity, of course, but this will not guarantee Torres will all of a sudden rediscover the goalscoring prowess that he has been devoid of for a significant period of time.
In Balotelli, Milan lost - albeit willingly - a far more reputable centre-forward than Torres, who has been a subject of derision every since he made his then British record £50 million transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea in January 2011.
While he was undoubtedly a fearsome goalscorer during his time with Liverpool, most notably during that halcyon first season at Anfield, Torres never once made double figures in the Premier League for Chelsea, and only twice went beyond five strikes.
While Balotelli may not be in the bracket of a really prolific centre-forward such as the man he replaces at Liverpool, Luis Suarez, he surpasses Torres in every attribute. That is, of course, except for discipline.
But if AC Milan believe they have a better player in Torres purely because the 30-year-old has the reputation as an excellent professional, albeit a commendable trait, then they really are mistaken.
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