When Fernando Torres fired home a beautifully-placed shot past Petr Cech to open his goal scoring account at Anfield there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Spanish striker was something special.
During his time as a youngster at Atletico Madrid he built a relationship with the clubs supporters which ensured that even on his return with Liverpool in both the Champions and Europa League he was greeted warmly by the fans of his hometown club.
At Liverpool the 26 year-old has gone a long way towards building a similar relationship with the Anfield faithful, with his determination, dedication and, obviously, his eye for goal sealing his place as a Kop legend in just three seasons.
Based on all this it might be hard to comprehend just why Fernando Torres is considering his Anfield future. Even more shocking to some would be that, should ‘El Nino’ decide to leave Liverpool, it would be all down to the money.
Torres has never been one to go chasing after big salaries, evidenced by his dedication to Atletico Madrid throughout his teenage years and early twenties despite interest from some of the biggest outfits in European football.
When Torres decided to head for England it wasn’t a decision made because of the attractive salary at Liverpool, rather it was because the Spaniard knew that to take his career to the next level he had to make the step-up to regular Champions League football.
So when I say Torres will leave Anfield because of financial issues I’m certainly not talking about his weekly wage packet.
Instead I’m talking about the ongoing financial mess that currently dominates all news surrounding Liverpool Football Club, with Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s penny-pinching ways becoming a serious cause for concern for the striker.
Since Rafael Benitez’s departure it has been revealed just how many signings the now Inter Milan boss missed out on during his tenure at Anfield, and clearly Fernando Torres knew all about those targets that slipped through the net as well.
That’s why towards the end of last season Torres publicly stated that he believes the club need to be ready to invest in four or five top-class players. A kind of ‘put your money where your mouth is’ statement aimed at the Liverpool board.
That investment, so far, hasn’t come – something which will no doubt worry Liverpool’s number nine. Over the course of the transfer window Liverpool have sold Yossi Benayoun, Emilano Insua and Albert Riera whilst only bringing in two free transfers and a low-price young defender.
Of course Joe Cole’s addition was a huge step in the right direction, as was the signings of both Milan Jovanovic and Danny Wilson. But it’s clear to see that when Torres came out and gave his opinion he probably wanted some bigger name players than what has so far been added.
The club shouldn’t be held to ransom by its top stars, of course, but it’s hard to disagree with Torres’ opinion when you see how much the club struggled with strength-in-depth last season, something which will have to worry Roy Hodgson going into the new campaign.
If the club do make a statement of intent by bringing in some players of the standard needed to get Liverpool back into Europe’s top competition than there’s no doubt in my mind that Fernando Torres will be wearing the red of Liverpool next season.
But if we are put through another summer of discontent due to a lack of signings and a sell-to-buy policy then, despite how much he loves the club, Torres may have to look elsewhere to ensure he meets his full potential.
(photo provided by Jasjohal)