Monday 27 January 2020

Torres embraces two-year Milan loan move

Fernando Torres has touched down in Italy and formalised his two year loan move to AC Milan.

The Spanish striker has endured an unhappy number of years at Stamford Bridge since securing a £50m move to Chelsea in 2011.

That fee, then a British record, was only beaten this week by the £59.7m that Manchester United have invested in Angel Di Maria.

However, despite the scale of the fee and having two years left on his deal, it appears Chelsea are letting Torres go for free. Chelsea last night confirmed the move, describing it as a "two-year loan deal" which, given he has only two years left on his contract, effectively means he is leaving them for good unless things drastically change. The statement did not say whether Chelsea had the option of a recall.

At the same time, the club have, it is understood, not agreed to pay Torres a severance package. It had been thought the 30-year-old was holding out for a payment on the £175,000-a-week contract he has with Chelsea, but because his move to Milan is for two seasons, no pay-off has been forthcoming.

Torres, who scored 45 goals in 172 games for Chelsea - and helped them win the Champions League and Europa League - has struggled since his move from Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho had insisted that Torres needed to inform the club that he wanted to go and that the deal was concluded swiftly, so that he could find a replacement. Torres is due to undergo a medical in Milan today. Chelsea will now move quickly to sign a replacement so that the manager has the complement of three senior strikers that he says he needs in his squad.

There was relief yesterday at Chelsea that Diego Costa came through a training session, after sitting out the previous two days with a muscular injury, and he has been included in the squad who face Everton at Goodison Park today.

Chelsea are interested in the Roma striker Mattia Destro, but the Italian club are reluctant to sell.

Such was Mourinho's extended eulogy that he gave for Destro, once a protege of his Inter Milan, that it left little room for doubt that the 23-year old Italian was his favoured target. "Mattia was only a kid, 18, when I was at Inter," Mourinho said. "He was playing in our under-20 team, training with us so many times. Everyone at the club knew that the potential was there for him to be a top striker."

Chelsea's need for Destro is self-evident in the event of Torres' departure. Should Didier Drogba sustain any injury, the club have few front-line options to turn to outside Diego. Asked if the Torres story was a sad one on a "human level", to use his description of the Chelsea culture, he replied: "I don't think so. He won a few things, scored a few important goals."

Mourinho also clarified that Torres' exit could not solve the predicament where Chelsea need to let another foreign player leave, after the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Everton and loans for Christian Atsu, Oriol Romeu and Marko Marin. "If we have to react to Fernando's departure, we'll react by buying a foreign striker, because in the market I don't see an English striker who would come to us, or where his club would let him."

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