When Chelsea signed Fernando Torres in January 2011, owner Roman Abromovic put a lot of faith in a striker who some would have already considered to be on the downside of his career. At 26 years old, Torres had already undergone two operations on a balky right knee the previous year, and had struggled with fitness in the 2010 World Cup due to a nagging groin injury. In spite of this, then-Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck hailed the move, and made what now comes off as an ominous promise that “this is a very significant day for Chelsea, capturing one of the best players in the world with his peak years ahead of him.”
In his first calendar year with Chelsea, Torres scored just five goals in 44 appearances, drawing groans from fans and Chelsea board members alike. He has continually served as a whipping boy for both Blues fans and detractors for failing to live up to his 58 million euro transfer fee.
On Sunday, Torres at least temporarily turned those groans into cheers by delivering arguably his best performance in a Blues shirt, as his goal and assist made all the difference in a critical 2-1 win over Manchester City. But no matter how the rest of Torres’ season plays out, it is hard to imagine him returning to Chelsea in 2014-15. Torres has repeatedly stated that he wants to stay at Chelsea, even while his name was floated to other Premier League teams like Tottenham and Liverpool during the summer months.
The question then is this: Is it time for Torres to take his talents to a new domestic league? The answer is yes, and not just to escape criticism. It could also improve his scoring output....