Atletico Madrid and AC Milan have reached an agreement which will see striker Fernando Torres return to Spain on-loan for the remainder of the season, according to the Spanish newspaper AS.
In exchange for Torres, the Rossoneri will receive the Spanish champions out-of-favor midfielder Alessio Cerci on-loan until the conclusion of the season.
The move has been rumored to be in the works for a few weeks after AS initially reported manager Diego Simeone had handed in a list of January targets to Atletico officials, with Torres named as his number one option.
Simeone lined up alongside the striker during his playing days with Los Rojiblancos and he believes Torres will provide solid support for Madrid’s current number nine, Mario Mandzukic. The Argentine boss plans to partner the two forwards together in Spanish champions’ attack, and believes that Torres’ unselfishness and movement will fit in perfectly with the rest of his squad
The biggest stumbling block of the deal was the striker’s £150,000 weekly wages. Chelsea were comfortable with allowing the on-loan player to make a move back to Spain. All the club wanted was assurances that the player’s salary would be covered. But it is understood that an agreement has been reached which satisfies the player, as well all clubs involved.
Torres, a product of Atletico Madrid’s youth system, will return to Los Colchoneros after spending the past seven years at Liverpool, Chelsea and Milan. He left the Spanish club at the end of the 2006-07 season after scoring 82 goals in 214 appearances.
The Spain international signed with Rafa Benitez and Liverpool for a reported £20 million dollars and continued to thrive in England, tallying 65 goals in 102 appearances for the Merseyside club.
He would then be involved in one of the more memorable moves in the history of the January transfer window after Liverpool agreed to sell the striker to league-rivals Chelsea for a then-British transfer record fee of £50 million in 2011.
Since his switch to Stamford Bridge, for whatever reasons, Torres has seen his playing fortunes completely reversed both domestically and internationally. The striker has become a shadow of his former goal scoring self since exchanging the red of Liverpool for the blue of Chelsea. The player who once terrorized defenders across Europe has now become the butt of jokes in stadiums and bars around the world.
In his three seasons at Chelsea, Torres scored only 20 goals before manager Jose Mourinho allowed the striker to leave for AC Milan on a two-year loan this summer.
Since his move to Italy, the 30-year-old striker found the back of the net only once for the Rossoneri, and manager Filippo Inzaghi lost all faith in the player Milan acquired just four months ago.
Rumors began to surface of the Italian club wanting to send the player back to London, but Mourinho immediately closed that door by stating his squad was complete for the rest of this season.
With Diego Simeone opening the door for a return to his boyhood club and Atletico Madrid willing to part with recently acquired midfielder Alessio Cerci, Milan decided a deal with the Spanish champions would serve all the parties involved.
Cerci signed with Madrid this summer for a reported £16 million from Lazio, but arrived in Spain out of shape and has struggled to find a place in Simeone’s starting eleven.
The 27-year-old Italy international reportedly favors a move to Milan’s rivals, Internazionale, but that request has fallen on deaf ears.
The swap-deal for Torres and Cerci progressed quickly because Milan is scheduled to face the newly-crowned Club World Cup champions Real Madrid in Dubai on December 30th.
Manager Filippo Inzaghi will have his team return to training on Saturday, and he would like Cerci to be involved as quickly as possible in order to acclimate the player as quickly as possible with his new teammates.
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