Fernando Torres Saga at Chelsea Strikes Resemblance to Chris Sutton

During last January’s transfer window a great deal of focus was on big name players and the one that caught most of the attention of the media was Fernando Torres of Liverpool. Chelsea come along and broke the bank with an English transfer fee record of £50 million. However, at the end of the 2010-2011 season Torres had 18 total appearances for Chelsea and scored just one goal.

This story reminds me of another former high profile Chelsea player and that was Chris Sutton about 12 years ago. When Torres arrived at Chelsea there were such high hopes and success for him but so far very little has been achieved by him and the same was true of Chris Sutton back in the 1999-2000 season. Will Torres follow the same uneventful path as Sutton did at Chelsea which saw him leave after one season?

The past is the best indictor as to what will happen in life. In looking back at Torres’ career it is a history of being a successful athlete. Starting his career at Atletico Madrid in 2000 and by the time he left the club in 2007, he had made 214 league appearances and scored 82 goals. Starting in the 2007-2008 season, Torres moved to Liverpool. During his tenure at Liverpool, he made 33 appearances scoring 24 goals. In the 2008-2009 season, he had 24 appearances with 14 goals. And in the 2009-2010 season he had 22 appearances with 18 goals.

At the end of the 2009-2010 season Torres’s name was the most popular one on replica shirts around the world. On August 14, 2010, Torres signed a new contract with Liverpool that extended his stay at the club until 2013 and he began earning £110,000 per week. Roy Hodgson, the new manager, arrived for the 2010-2011 season and Liverpool almost immediately went into a tail spin and even fell into the relegation zone. Hodgson made it clear that Torres would not be sold and his contract would be honored. Torres would make 23 appearances with 9 goals before leaving Liverpool in January 2011.

The change in management at Liverpool and the dismissal of Hodgson and the arrival of Kenny Dalglish in January of 2011 would change the situation with Torres. With the cash available and the desire to attract new talent Chelsea made a move and finally secured Torres for £50 million. Despite Torres’s statements about his commitment and loyalty to Liverpool, the lure of more money and playing in Champions League football was most likely the biggest reason for him leaving. Not to mention that Liverpool’s position in the league at that time seemed uncertain. Torres lavished praise on Chelsea as a great club and felt very positive about the move as did Chelsea who thought they made an incredible deal that would secure the club’s future success. But this story has an eerie feeling to that of Chris Sutton.

Sutton had a very similar story to that of Torres. Sutton started his career at Norwich City back in the old First Division days of 1990-1991. He ended his time at Norwich in the 1993-1994 season with 25 goals and was being sought after by big name clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Blackburn. Sutton decided on a move to Blackburn for a record fee for that time of £5 million. In that first season of 1994-1995, Sutton formed an excellent partnership with Alan Shearer known as the “SAS” attack with Sutton scoring 15 goals and helping to achieve their first league title since 1914. The next season saw Sutton fall out of form through injuries but he regained his form in the 1997-1998 season with 18 goals in 35 appearances. In his last season he only managed 17 appearances with 3 goals through injuries again and missed the last critical game that could have saved Blackburn from the drop. Blackburn was relegated in the 1998-1999 season. Despite that, Sutton was still regarded as a good player and with Blackburn no longer in the Premier League he sought a return to top flight football. Sutton was sold to Chelsea for £10 million — another high price tag for that day. Sutton’s story feels so familiar to that of Torres.

Sutton had a good reputation and with the high price tag he was going to need to live up to all that. However, Sutton’s time at Chelsea would not be a happy one. He made 28 league appearances and scored just one goal. He did make 10 cup competition appearances and scored two more goals. But this was not a productive stay at Chelsea.

Granted, Torres has only been at Chelsea for about half a season but it wasn’t a productive one considering all the hype, money and his past history. In many ways I see many of the same patterns with the two players: A lot of talent, money and media hype but, ultimately, failing to deliver. Of course Torres can change things around but will he? Sutton was gone after one season and sold to Celtic for £6 million. Funny thing is that Sutton did rebound at Celtic and in the 2003-2004 season scored 20 goals and was voted SPFA Player of the Year. He had another good year at Celtic but the end was near. He bounced around for a few more years before calling it quits in 2007.

Of course Sutton is no longer playing but the similarities that brought both players to Chelsea just sound so similar and are almost haunting. I wonder what will happen to Torres at Chelsea. Will he suffer the same fate? Maybe clubs and players should be careful what they ask or wish it may not be the answer they are seeking. The lure of money and top flight football can be intoxicating but maybe this is all it is and sticking with your club might provide the real answer a player needs.

12 thoughts on “Fernando Torres Saga at Chelsea Strikes Resemblance to Chris Sutton”

  1. Torres was my idol at liverpool,all i wish for him is bad luck cos he who betrays will walk alone. AL THE SUCCESS FOR SUAREZ AND CARROL.YNWA

      1. Xabi Alonso was forced out by Rafa. Xabi was pure class and a true gentleman off the field and on it when at Anfield, and still is at Real Madrid. He’s nothing like this loser.

    1. Take a writing course. I am impressed did you think that all by yourself? I am guessing you had some help with that one, maybe friends or family. One thing about the internet it can attract bright people but on the other hand it sure can attract some losers and idiots who make nothing but nonsensical comments. I guess the story was too much for you to handle. Try a coloring book next time.

  2. I agree with your writing. Sutton was a hero to me back at Blackburn. I still followed his progress with Chelsea. And he struggled over there. When he moved to Celtic, I was so glad he performed better and better just as he did to Blackburn. Torres is not an exception too. He should move elsewhere to find the form he is lacking of nowadays. All the best to you Torres!

  3. I dont think this is very well thought out and you’ve jumped to some quite far fetched conclusions. Sutton wasn’t considered one of the best strikers in the world – neither was he signed for anything like the British record. Chelsea took a gamble on him and it didn’t pay off, that’s about it. Torres’ on the other hand was signed for a lit more than the British record and a lot was expected of him. However, you’ve also not taken account of the injuries he’s had since before the World Cup – we rushed him back at Liverpool and it’s affected him ever since. Stats don’t reflect how important Gerrard was on his scoring record at Liverpool either.

    Saying all that, I might not agree with you but at least you’ve got enough about you to post an article under your own name rather than just throw criticism out.

    1. Thank you for the comments. True Sutton wasn’t considered one of the best in the world but that the time, he was regard as a good and solid English striker. Torres broke the transfer bank but 10 million in 1999 was good deal of money. As I said things could change.

  4. I don’t know if you’re a Chelsea fan or Torres fan, but as a Liverpool fan, all I can say that Torres was the perfect striker in a team built around Steven Gerrard. Gerrard tended to hit his passes abit heavy and all the other strikers tried by Rafa could never quite connect properly with those passes. Torres was the only one able to get on the end of them and accelerate beyond wrong-footed defenders. More than half to 2/3s of the goals he scored for Liverpool resulted from him beating an entire backline and keeper before a simple tap in.
    Torres is piss poor at keeping the ball, and in a crowded 6 or 18 yard box, opposition defenders can pick the ball off his feet with ease. For him to function well at Chelsea, it will not be as a main striker, but as a wide forward who feeds the centreforward on the counter. In this sense, unless you’re playing a counter-attacking game, Torres is a pretty redundant player. He can’t lose his marker when tightly marked. With the attacking play brought to Chelsea by Ancelotti, there was simply no place for Torres. I don’t imagine his situation will improve under AVB either, who’s known to be an offensive minded manager.
    Currently, only the 2 Manc clubs and Real Madrid would be able to get the best out of him. He would never go to Real or United, so City is his only hope of a revival. Chelsea would do well to swap him for Tevez, and then maybe you’d have a happier comparison – that of Tevez vs. Zola to make.

  5. Hi Simon,
    I am neithe a Chelsea or Liverpool fan. I am Totteham fan. But I just couldn’t help notice some of the same with Torres and Sutton while at Chelsea seems it wasn’t the place for Sutton and I am thinking the same maybe true for Torres but time will tell. I think you make some great points and thanks for the feedback.

  6. Would have been great had somthing clicked at chelsea for sutton!!..He would have played with shearer for england. One season doesnt make a bad player, and had sutton stayed then who knows. People might not care at chelsea for the guys efforts elsewhere, but he did very well at celtic and scored a fair few european goals aswell. Despite injuries at villa and birningham he put some decent shifts in there too. I hope torres gets the break he needs, or resurect his form elswhere.

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