Poor Roy Hodgson has had the pleasant task of informing the public that Fernando Torres is more than just a little iffy about staying with Liverpool. He seems to have washed his hands of the guilt a la Pontius Pilate. Hodgson emerged from talks with Torres saying, “Unfortunately, I cannot do much more,” Hodgson confessed. “His beef is with the club and not me.”
What beef is that exactly?
For Torres it’s the disappointment in the promises that Liverpool failed to fulfill—specifically the enhancement of the team with new players. The 26-year old striker was clearly depending on these new additions to win some silverware. Back in March, Torres was quoted in an interview with a Spanish paper saying, “If we do not reinforce the squad, […] all we will be able to do is fight for fourth again.” The striker emphasized his point, suggesting that Liverpool need to bring in “four or five top class players to compete—better than the ones we have.”
He has a point.
But if El Nino wants to transfer out of the club, now is not the time.
Liverpool know that they haven’t followed through on giving Torres the support that he desires, but the fact that they nabbed Joe Cole and retained Steven Gerrard should send a message. Cole and Gerrard might not be the ‘top-class players’ Torres was referring to, but he should realize that they perform well in the Premier League.
Despite lifting the World Cup trophy, he hasn’t made a good case for himself in terms of being an attractive candidate for potential clubs. His untimely groin strain at the finals against the Netherlands is scheduled to bench him for two months and his (lack of a) World Cup performance put him on par with the English squad.
Aside from this, he is only one year into his four-year contract with the Reds and any sort of transfer will be very expensive, to say the least. Chelsea, who are currently leading the chase, began to doubt their original valuation of £50 million (as reported by the Telegraph) after the World Cup. (To be quite honest, I don’t think Chelsea even need Torres, but that’s another story for another time). Liverpool currently value Torres at £70 million. Manchester City have also revived their interest in purchasing Torres, and unlike Chelsea, they are willing to pay a higher price.
Conversely, there are several important reasons why he should leave Liverpool. Financially, the club is very unstable and the likelihood to win silverware with the Reds isn’t very high. Although Hodgson has made it clear he would like to keep Torres at Anfield, he should consider selling the striker in order to pay for several others to give the team the reshaping and bolstering it needs.
And although Hodgson managed to grab Cole and Gerrard, it might not be enough. Torres probably realizes that obtaining these two players was not a difficult task for the Reds. After all, Cole was a free transfer from Chelsea and Gerrard was, well, relatively unwanted by other clubs.
The bottom line is, Liverpool need Torres more than Torres needs Liverpool.
Liverpool fans on the edge of their nerves can perhaps take solace in what Torres said back in March: “I don’t plan on going back to La Liga for a while. I have made my move away from home and I owe Liverpool a lot. I like it here, and people have treated me like one of their own. I am very happy here and hopefully my future is here. I think the club deserves to win again, but at this point they know they are a long way away.”