Now that AC Milan have sold Mario Balotelli to Liverpool, they have need of a new striker to lead their line. They've also got a fair amount of cash floating around as well. And since one plus one means Fernando Torres, at least in certain circles, we're getting lots and lots of chatter about El Nino himself moving to the San Siro.
How seriously should we take it? If you've been following transfer rumours for any length of time, you'll be aware that the Italian media is perhaps the least trustworthy in Europe. If they say Torres is heading to Milan, that should be taken with a pinch of salt, the while salt cellar and several meals worth of food and drink. That said, we should probably still take stock of the rumour and figure out what, if any, motivation the clubs and Torres himself might have for consummating this prospective deal.
Selling Torres without paying his wages frees up a lot of money, both this year and next. It would also allow Chelsea to upgrade their striker depth, which the club needs considering Diego Costa's inclination towards minor injuries and suspensions and Didier Drogba's age.
There aren't a lot of options for first-choice striker still left on the market, and a fair amount of competition for the ones remaining. Arsenal probably need a centre forward following Olivier Giroud's injury, and they have significantly more purchasing power than Milan at present. As a result, the Italian sides are probably going to be going through the dregs, which now includes Torres.
And as dregs go, he's probably fine. A change of scenery will certainly help him after a poor spell at Chelsea, but the step down from Premier League to Serie A defences in terms of both organisation and overall quality is significant, and Torres would be comfortably above-average in Italy. He also brings with him a certain amount of publicity, and if Milan value his celebrity, that might go some way towards justifying his cost.
Which we should probably talk about. Fernando Torres is on extremely high wages and it only makes much sense for Chelsea to move him if they can recoup most of the remainder of his amortised transfer fee (around £18 million at present). Milan are flush with cash, but it would be a surprise if they were interested in Torres at anything like his current salary.
Reportedly isn't interested in leaving behind the monster wages he's on at Chelsea, which is perfectly reasonable considering he's making a fortune at present. However, the chance to get away from Stamford Bridge and get proper playing time as the star guy must be worth something to him. The question is how much.
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Torres will only go to Milan if a) Milan coughs up a lot of cash and b) Torres and Chelsea negotiate a deal which makes financial sense for Chelsea, which probably involves not paying too big a chunk of his wages. There's some question over how much Milan value Torres at and how willing Torres would be to go there, but there's not much that screams 'this deal makes sense' to me here. Possible? Certainly. But definitely unlikely.
We're probably looking at at least a year of Torres as the third-choice striker before he finally gets shipped out next summer.
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