It’s fair to say that a £50 million price tag can bring with it an equal amount of pressure for a striker. Combine this with the worrying statistic that you’ve failed to score in your first five starts for your new club, you can begin to understand why some folk have been raising more than one or two eyebrows at such an astronomical transfer fee. On top of this, the club you’ve just recently joined is failing to live up to early season promise and are in desperate need of goals to catapult themselves up the table and towards a much needed trophy. This side of the fence, in all honesty could be a lot greener than it looked.
Fernando Torres has probably not had the enlightened start to his Chelsea career that he envisaged during the latter days at his old club Liverpool. Like everyone else in the country, he probably expected to kick off with a flurry of goals and start producing the kind of breath-taking form that propelled the Spaniard to Premier League stardom following his move from Athletico Madrid in 2007. He announced himself on the English stage with 33 goals in his debut season, a total even the most experienced of Premier League forwards would be proud of. He followed that figure in his next two seasons with 17 and 22; again, a credible if not impressive strike rate for a young man in his early-twenties.
However those twilight years appear to be dwindling away all too suddenly for the Madrid born striker, and a general loss of form earlier in this campaign on Merseyside (coinciding with Liverpool’s own terrible fortunes) has seen him rack up just 9 goals this season: non of which have been scored in the blue of Chelsea.
That statistic must change. It will eventually become a damning stain on an otherwise impressive resume, but the sooner that fact becomes history the better for Torres, his teammates, and his adoring fans in blue. To be as fair as possible to the striker, circumstances haven’t exactly been ‘ideal’. Whilst he is no longer a lone star among a vast empty galaxy of just-above-average planets (Liverpool’s squad, in case anyone got a bit lost along the Milky way), Torres arrived at a club whose own array of shining stars were failing to ignite. Upon his arrival, Chelsea were just coming through a desperately bleak winter period that saw them drop precious points in their bid to retain their Premier League crown. Of their seven games in January before his arrival they may have lost just once, but they were stuttering along outside the Champions League places.
So a player not exactly high on confidence joins up with a team very similarly not at the height of their game: predictably, something was never going to quite add up.
But there is hope yet of course. Chelsea have steadily improved their form. They might not be dominating teams in the cruel fashion that they were on their way to last season’s league and FA Cup double, but they are grinding out wins nonetheless, and are beginning to demonstrate flashes of last terms flair along the way. Take last weeks away victory over Blackpool for example. A potentially stormy fixture that Carlo Ancelotti’s men struggled to get to grips with at times but navigated nonetheless. John Terry, Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou were the beacons of hope on an otherwise gloomy Lancashire evening on the coast, but on the evidence of games this season, not one of those players will be consistent enough to pull the team through.
This is where our £50 million pound friend can step-in. Whatever the reason for his dry goal spell, be it poor form, trying too hard, not trying enough, too tired, playing too many games, not playing enough games; whatever the mysterious cause may be, he is still the pacey, strong, incisive and extremely talented goal-scorer that has notched up 26 goals in 82 appearances for his country. Whatever the reason for it’s absence this season, there is no question it is still inherently apparent in the 26 year-old, and in the spirit of that old football cliche: “the lad just needs a goal”.
Wednesday’s Champions League visit of FC Copenhagen can provide Torres with the platform he requires to propel himself back in to Premier League super-stardom. A goal, in whatever way, shape or form can spark an even greater explosion of goals that will see both Torres and Chelsea reap glorious benefits. One of the main reason’s Torres find’s himself in the deep blue of Chelsea is so that he can fulfill his dream of regular Champions League football. If he can net against Copenhagen this week, then there is no limit to the amount of goals Torres can rack up in a blue shirt; no end to the trophies that Chelsea could lift; and no value great enough to express how happy his adoring fans in blue will be.