With Rafa Benitez in the hunt for at least one striker this summer, out-of-favour Atletico Madrid frontman Fernando Torres is the latest name to be linked with a St. James’ Park switch. Here’s why Newcastle fans should refrain from pre-ordering his jersey at the club shop.
During his three seasons under Rafa Benitez’ tutelage, Torres was arguably the best finisher on the planet. The Spaniard was netting 72 goals across three seasons, as well as starring for his country at international tournaments. You might argue that when Benitez was given his Anfield P45 in June 2010, the wheels came off for Torres career.
The truth is that injuries effectively robbed the formerly prolific frontman of that fearless pace following the 2010 World Cup, and by the time he wound up at Stamford Bridge, he was a £50 million shell. Not even the return of Benitez on an interim basis could transform his fortunes. Indeed, the man has hit double digits in a league season just once in the last eight seasons.
Torres will turn 35 next season, yet the links of a reunion with his compatriot will not go away. While the Spaniard is an excitedly big name, the reality is that he would flounder in the Premier League – while his struggles at Chelsea were difficult to watch, that is nothing compared to what it’d be watching him relegated to bench-warming duty alongside Dwight Gayle.
A reunion might provide a nostalgic reminder of the past, but Benitez is far more pragmatic than to be drawn on sentimental hogwash. Torres’ next move will be one outside of Europe, either to China or the MLS – should he wish to reunite with his former boss, they should keep it to business functions.