El Niño has ended his silence today and has announced he “is more committed to Liverpool FC than ever.” This almost feels like a summer move, because with Liverpool finishing 7th last season, it seemed inevitable that the combination of his highly-overvalued price tag and Torres’ desire for Champions League football would lead to his departure from Anfield.
Depending on which Liverpool supporter you speak to, you get a different emotional response on Fernando Torres’ decision to stay put.
There are those with Torres tunnel vision, who dare not envision their hero in another uniform, plucking goals for a title rival like Chelsea. They claim that with Torres, Liverpool are a far better team than without him. Indeed, a Torres-Gerrard-Cole attacking triumvirate has mouths salivating in Liverpool, and will surely be among the best front lines in the Premier League.
And then there are those that feel in this Manchester City-distorted transfer market that maybe, just maybe, it would have been wiser to get the £50, £60, or even the mind-boggling £70 million for Torres, the astronomical numbers that City had purportedly been flirting with to land the Spanish striker.
With the potential of such an absurd amount of cash coming in, should Liverpool have listened to offers?
Such overvaluations only come around so often, and with Torres’ recent history of niggling injuries that keep him out for a month here or a month there, a £50-70 million offer is gross overestimation of his true value in my mind. While I lack genius knowledge of the world transfer market, surely Roy Hodgson could have replaced Torres with at least three top-drawer players had they resolved this situation very quickly post-World Cup.
Even with his dreadful World Cup performances, City and Chelsea were still pricing Torres at alarming rates. Had Liverpool sold early, that influx of cash could have given Liverpool a lot of leverage in the transfer market to go after top names like David Silva, Mario Balotelli, or Rafael van der Vaart just to name a few. Or perhaps buying a direct “replacement” (quotes because it is hard to replace Torres) plus some cheap, young up-and-comers to bring depth into the squad that Liverpool desperately needs. With either approach, money would have been less tight to try and lure players to Anfield that would serve to rebuild the club.
The reasons for second-guessing the retention of Torres are A) economics and B) improvement.
First, yes, Torres is a top 5 striker in the world when healthy, but he is not worth the ridiculous sums of money Man City were throwing out there, and much of that has to do with his propensity for injury. Any product with the very real tendency to break down at critical junctures should have its value lowered. Despite your deep love for that product, when a buyer comes along and grossly overvalues it, and you, as the seller, are in need of quick cash to improve your overall company, you should sell that product and reinvest in your business.
Second, does retaining Torres improve a Liverpool side that finished seventh last season? It was surprising to see them play so poorly last year, and one can blame various injuries and poor form from their captain Steven Gerrard, but their fall from grace last season begs the question of whether offloading star players to build depth at the club is the better way to respond to a disheartening season.
But as the powers-that-be at Anfield saw it, just like many Liverpool supporters spanning the globe see it, a Liverpool with Torres is better than a Liverpool raking in £50-70 million with which to rebuild.
Of course, there is no right answer, just opinion. Time will tell which option would have better served Liverpool and their fans.
What do you think? Leave comments and ideas below.