Chelsea and Milan agree Torres loan
Fernando Torres' frustrating and underwhelming time as a Chelsea player looks to be nearly over after AC Milan struck a deal to take him on a two-year loan.
Much was expected from the 30-year-old when he arrived from Liverpool in January 2011 for what was a British record deal.
However, Torres fell well short of living up to his £50million price tag and, after a frustrating three and a half years at Stamford Bridge, appears to have played his last match for the club.
On Friday evening - just hours after manager Jose Mourinho downplayed speculation he would leave - Chelsea confirmed that the Spain striker would be joining Milan on loan until the expiration of his contract in 2016, subject to a medical.
"Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan have agreed terms for the two-year loan deal of Fernando Torres to the Italian club," read a statement on the club's official website, www.chelseafc.com.
"The move is now subject to Fernando agreeing personal terms with AC Milan and passing a medical examination."
Press Association Sport understands Chelsea will not be picking up any of Torres' wages during his loan spell.
Although the Spain international only showed glimpses of his ability during his time in west London, Mourinho spoke highly of him as a player and a person on Friday afternoon.
At a press conference previewing Saturday's trip to Everton, the Portuguese said the "situation hasn't arisen yet" and was not one they were planning for, given he felt they need three strikers to fight on all fronts this season - admitting the Blues would be in trouble if Torres departed given no Plan B is in place.
"Well, if that happens in the last hour of the market, we are in trouble," said Mourinho, who has been linked with a move for Roma's Mattia Destro.
"We are not prepared. It's something new. We have our ideas, we have our contacts.
"Obviously we have to react if that situation happens. The market for us is closed. But because the market is 'open', it's never completely closed.
"If Nando opens that market, we have to open it.
"In this moment we are doing nothing because our belief is that the market is closed for us.
"I've believed for a long time that the squad is closed. We have our squad. We like our squad. It's not the perfect one, because no squad is perfect, but it's one we like."
Torres became the butt of many a joke during his time at Stamford Bridge but it was not without its successes, given he won the Champions League, Europa League and an FA Cup.
The much-criticised front man won the Golden Boot on the way to Spain's Euro 2012 triumph during his time with Chelsea and, while he went to the World Cup, his lack of form and playing time saw him miss out on the latest squad for the upcoming matches against France and Macedonia.
Perhaps that lack of recognition fuelled his desire to move to the San Siro - a move Mourinho, speaking before the deal was confirmed, could understand.
"If he wants to leave, in the case he wants to, it's because he wants to try a new life, a new club, probably a new league," the Portuguese said.
"So if he wants to leave, which until this moment I have not one single word about, I believe that is to try to be happier than he was in the last couple of years.
"This is a very human club in the way the club approaches this kind of situation. If he comes to us in these last couple of days, any possibility would be analysed by us as a club and the best decision for him."
It has been widely speculated that Chelsea would look to bring in Destro as Torres' replacement.
The Italy international's burgeoning reputation has grown at Roma and is a player Mourinho knows well from his time at the Inter Milan helm.
"Mattia was a kid when I was at Inter," he said. "I think he was like 18.
"He was playing the Primavera team, our under-21s, training with us so many times.
"Everyone knew at the club that his potential was there to be a top striker. He was unlucky because we had (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and Adriano, then (Samuel) Eto'o, (Diego) Milito, so it was not easy for him to come into the first team.
"The ones that got the chance but Mattia didn't have that chance because we were full of top strikers."
Mourinho refused to speak outright about any interest in Destro - "I don't speak about these possibilities now" - but admitted any replacement for Torres would almost certainly be foreign.
"If we have to react to Fernando's departure, we'll react by buying a foreign striker because I don't see an English striker in the market that would come to us, or where his club would let him come to us," he said.
"If we lose a foreign striker, we need another foreign striker."