Chelsea's £50 million striker has taught the club this one thing

Fernando Torres May 2012

Fernando Torres has not received much praise since joining Chelsea, but his record transfer fee seems to have stabilised the club.

The former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool star arrived at Stamford Bridge for the astronomical fee of £50 million - a record that still stands for the highest transfer fee between two English clubs. Having arrived with such pressure on his shoulders, he failed to live up to his price-tag, with just one goal scored in 18 games during his first season with the Blues. Despite winning a host of trophies with the West London club, his personal career has followed much the same path as that of his initial season, with just 45 goals scored in 172 games - hardly a flattering record for a record transfer.

The Spanish international - who was also a key component of La Roja's domination of world football - has been the cause for strong judgement of Chelsea in recent seasons; his fee and his failure is the best representation of the Roman Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge. However, whilst Torres failed to work out on the pitch, it appears as if the club management have learnt one thing from the highly derided deal - financial ingenuity.

Since the arrival of Abramovich, the club have been seen as the destroyers of football, hyper-inflating the transfer market beyond reasonable values and signing players without regard to financial responsibility.

However, since the Torres deal, the club have been manipulating the transfer market in their favour, by buying youngsters and then selling them on for higher fees. Whilst it hardly seems ethical from a footballing standpoint - with numerous players leaving the club having never appeared in a blue shirt - from a business standpoint it makes total sense.

Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma are just four of the players who were sold for increased fees, despite having hardly played for the Blues; a combined £29 million was received in the sale of those four players. When added in with the sales of David Luiz and Juan Mata - unnecessary bench players in Jose Mourinho's set-up - the Blues had £112 million free to use for re-investment.

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And a lot of this income was used on signing necessary players, with Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis arriving for a combined £79 million; thus, the net spend Chelsea have used to rebuild their squad is -£33 million. In other words, the Blues are working at a profit - with a sizeable working transfer budget still available - for the first time since Roman Abramovich arrived in West London.

Whilst it makes it hard to bond with the team, knowing that promising players will likely be shipped off at a profit, as a business model it secures the future of the playing squad, as well as financial security - something that will come under heavy scrutiny with the beginning of Financial Fair Play. Whilst many will take umbridge at the ongoing manipulation, if Chelsea can continue to compete on the field, whilst also attending to the stringent rules focused upon the monetary side of the game, other clubs may start to take inspiration from the shrewd Blues owner.

Do you agree with Chelsea's manipulation of the transfer market?

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