Former Blues boss Ruud Gullit has expressed his doubts about striker Fernando Torres’ ability to spearhead Chelsea’s attack.
Gullit suggest current Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo should ditch the Spanish striker for in-demand transfer target Radamel Falcao.
Falcao has netted 34 goals for Athletico Madrid in just 43 appearances since signing just over a year ago, earning his not only numerous plaudits but a reputation as Europe’s most-wanted striker.
Compared to Torres who signed in January of 2011, Falcao is a goal-machine – Torres hasn’t had the best of starts to his Chelsea career and has suffered a lack of form and sharpness since his third season at Liverpool back in 2009/10.
He scored just 11 goals in 49 appearances for the Blues across all competitions last season and scored just 1 in 18 the previous season. Compared with his start to his Liverpool career after transferring from Athletico Madrid when he tallied 33 goals in 46 appearances in 2007/08.
"If he can't still do it at Chelsea, then they are going to have to look somewhere else. I think Falcao is a very good striker,” said Gullit of the Spanish international.
Chelsea are the front-runners to sign Falcao who has a price-tag of £48 million due to his €40 million transfer from Porto just over a year ago.
"I said at the beginning of the season that Chelsea might need another striker but obviously they wanted to give Torres a chance. If he has taken it, I don't know.”
Torres was looking to score his first goal against his old club when Chelsea faced Liverpool last weekend. Brendan Rodgers’ side clinched a point at Stamford Bridge from the European champions in their 1-1 draw in which Torres was substituted in the 82nd minute to a round of mocking applause and jeers from the traveling Reds faithful.
His pat on the back from his manager as he came off the pitch will have been unlikely to provide consolation – his face and demeanour said it all, he looked every bit as frustrated as he had in his final season at Anfield.
Will Di Matteo off-load the struggling striker? Considering he wasn’t the man who brought him to the club, he might be able to avoid the blame from the fans, the board, and the owner if he did. £50 million is a lot of money to waste – even if your pockets are as deep as Roman Abramovic and they surely wouldn’t receive anywhere near that fee for him now.
But, the sale of Torres could help finance a move for Falcao and, in terms of the goals he would bring to the team, it might pay dividends in the long-run.
image: © Ben Sutherland