If Fernando Torres thought that a change in haircut could signal a change in fortunes, he must be feeling sorely disappointed. Shaven-haired Torres performed just as abjectly as floppy-haired Torres in his eighty minutes on the field against Arsenal two weekends ago, and after Chelsea secured the three points, an already familiar chorus was ringing out – Demba Ba did more in the last ten minutes than Torres did from kick-off. The Chelsea fans who, to do them credit, have waited, hoped and prayed for Torres to excel, are finally losing their patience.
As of the time of writing, the Spaniard has played seven Premier League games without scoring, and his total Chelsea scoring tally stands at little more than two dozen. It’s just two more goals than Torres scored in the Premier League in just one season at Liverpool. It’s quite clear that something is fundamentally wrong with Fernando Torres at Chelsea.
Unfortunately for Chelsea fans, nobody seems to have communicated this to Roman Abramovich. And Abramovich seems to have taken Fernando Torres on as a pet project. Despite being perfectly willing to fire a manager at the drop of a hat when results start going sour, Abramovich has persisted almost to an obsessional level with getting Torres firing on all cylinders. The appointment of Rafael Benitez, who is approximately as popular with the Chelsea faithful as a colonoscopy performed with a scimitar, was so plainly an attempt to reunite Torres with the manager who brought him to England that it was almost farcical. When else has a boss ever been selected simply based upon the fortunes of a single player?
Abramovich’s dogged determination to get Torres to succeed is horribly misguided, loading even more pressure upon a player who already has to contend with the weight of a £50 million price tag and the Ivory Coast-sized shoes left by Didier Drogba.
With Demba Ba’s arrival comes what looks like the end of Torres’ career at Chelsea. If, at the end of the season, Ba has slotted in more naturally to the Blues’ set-up, as seems highly likely, Chelsea will surely want to cut their losses and move El Niño on to new pastures.
Even a fairy-tale romance comes to an end, and for some time this one has looked more like the princess locked in a tower by her scheming uncle. All Fernando can do is wait for a white knight to charge in and release him from Stamford Bridge.