Chelsea should swap flop for £32m Manchester United target

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Since arriving at Chelsea from Premier League rivals Liverpool back in January 2011, it is perhaps fair to say that Fernando Torres has failed to live up to his lofty billing.

While he has not perhaps been deserving of some of the extreme criticism that has come his way during his subsequent three-year spell in West London, labelling him as a 'flop' is simply unavoidable given that the Blues paid an eye-watering £50 million for his services.

Torres, who returned from a spell on the sidelines with damaged knee ligaments during the frustrating 1-1 draw with West Brom on Tuesday night at The Hawthorns, has occasionally looked a better and more confident player since Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge - but he is still not showing adequate signs that he is about to provide a serious return on that staggering investment.

It is for this reason that I think Chelsea should look to engineer a potential swap deal this summer that would see Torres move to Atletico Madrid and Brazilian-born talisman Diego Costa go in the other direction.

This is a potential idea that has been discussed and speculated upon in the media this week, with reports today suggesting that Mourinho refuses to use Thibaut Courtois as a makeweight but that Atletico could potentially struggle to strike a similar swap involving Torres due to the Spanish international's wages.

However, if this issue can be overcome, the deal makes sense for all parties. While Torres would perhaps be a tad reluctant to call time on his disappointing Chelsea career, the sheer volume of criticism he has received could persuade him to start afresh.

Additionally, moving to Atletico would have offer a distinct advantage for Torres, given that he is very familiar with the club and the setup having spent his formative years at the Vicente Calderon.

Atletico's resurgence under the enigmatic Diego Simeone means that a move to Madrid's 'smaller' club should no longer be seen as a backward step. Los Rojiblancos have enjoyed a fantastic season to date and are currently level on points with local rivals Real and giants Barcelona and could certainly win the title.

As well as benefiting Torres (and Atletico - to an admittedly smaller extent), such a move would surely boost Chelsea in an area most in need.

With Torres having seemingly lost the confidence that made him such an utterly fearsome proposition during his prolific spell at Anfield, Samuel Eto'o likely to depart at the end of the season upon the expiration of his contract and Demba Ba having not made any sort of discernible impact, it is surely safe to presume that Mourinho will seek to improve his strikeforce during the next transfer window.

Powerful frontman Costa, who re-joined Atletico in 2011 after a short period with Real Valladolid and is rated at £32 million, is the ideal man to do just that.

A formidable physical presence with strength and guile, Costa has notched 20 goals in just 23 La Liga appearances so far this season and would certainly represent a dramatic improvement on Chelsea's current strikers.

Plus, I think Chelsea will perhaps need to offer an incentive such as Torres to ensure that they are able to get Costa for themselves.

Premier League champions Manchester United, whose 2013/14 season has been an utter misery so far with David Moyes struggling to establish any sort of authority in his first campaign at Old Trafford, have also been linked with a move for Costa and could be seeking to add a striker of Costa's class themselves this summer with doubts surrounding the future of Robin van Persie.

If Atletico can find a way to reach an agreeable position on his wages, then Chelsea should do their best to swap Costa for Torres.

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Fernando Torres
Premier League
Manchester United

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