Arsene Wenger is set to make a shock bid for Chelsea outcast Fernando Torres if reports are to be believed. The Spaniard has been a flop since his mega £50 million move from Liverpool in January 2011 and is thought to be ‘surplus to requirements’ under incoming boss Jose Mourinho.
It has been reported that Arsenal want a second striker to pair with the imminent signing of Gonzalo Higuain, however the deal has taken a long time to complete and Torres could possibly be a replacement.
Barcelona recently expressed a desire to sign the Spain international but admitted he would have a super-sub role rather than a sure starter for the Catalans. Torres had to battle with Demba Ba for the second part of last season, as Rafa Benitez preferred the sole striker option. Despite his poor performances in the Premier League, he found the net in Europe frequently as Chelsea claimed the UEFA Europa League. He even finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 23.
His displays have worsened over the course of his career in London and many have predicted the striker has past his peak. He only shows his talent in glimpses and is on the brink of international elimination with Spain although he has managed five goals for his nation at the Confederations Cup with four coming in the 10-0 victory over minnows Tahiti. The 29-year-old has stacked up over 100 international caps but over forwards such as David Villa and Roberto Soldado are showing better form to be involved with the international set-up.
Mourinho isn’t afraid to drop players or even sell them on as he banished Iker Casillas from the Real Madrid line-up last season and Torres could be his next victim. Andre Schurrle’s signing looks to threaten his place but the claims about Edinson Cavani suggest his time could be up at Stamford Bridge. There are complications in the deal however.
Firstly, Chelsea will still be looking for a handsome transfer fee with £17 million the reported valuation. The Gunners, although backed by huge financial wealth, will not part with money easily and will not surpass their current transfer record for an average player, which is what Torres currently is. The claimed signing of Gonzalo Higuain is worth £22 million and so any other forward will likely be a squad player although they are still heavily linked with Wayne Rooney.
Secondly is the willingness for Mourinho to sell to Wenger. The two managers have a burning rivalry and any deal between the two clubs will likely involve intense talks and the price to be hiked which could see Torres being valued over £20 million.
Wenger will not sign Torres without thinking it through properly but it is a huge risk. He is no longer a prolific striker but his work rate is very high. The Frenchman has also been a follower of Torres since his days at Atletico Madrid but Liverpool beat him to his signature. Now he is less valuable Wenger may swoop in to try and make him one of Europe’s most feared forwards once again.