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Fernando Torres is reportedly set for a Premier League return in January and Newcastle United are keen to offer him a deal.
The 33-year-old Torres could link up with Rafael Benitez, who signed him for Liverpool in the summer of 2007 from Atletico Madrid. But the Magpies aren’t the only club interested in the Spaniard; Southampton too are keen to strike a short-term deal for the Atletico striker.
Torres has struggled for games this season, and is yet to open his account in 10 appearances in the La Liga so far but wants to spend next season, the last on his contract, with his boyhood club. A lack of game-time at present has made him open to a January move.
The World Cup winner may be tempted to leave the Spanish capital temporarily due to the striking situation at the club right now. The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luciano Vietto and Kevin Gameiro are ahead of the forward in the pecking order at Atletico. Opportunities are likely to be even more limited once Diego Costa arrives at the club in January.
Thus, Torres’ idea of leaving Atletico on a short-term deal makes sense and Benitez might relish the prospect of getting his former man.
Any club wanting to borrow Torres for the rest of the season would have to pay part of his salary which, annually, is around £3.5m and following the expected takeover from Amanda Staveley, Newcastle won’t face much of a problem in signing the striker.
Torres, who scored 81 goals in 142 appearances for Liverpool in his four-year stay, left for Chelsea in a staggering £50m deal in 2011 to stun the Liverpool faithful. However, he failed to have the same impact with the Blues and left England with a whimper.
Benitez, who once claimed Torres was the best striker in the world, helped turn the striker into a genuine superstar. Newcastle are in a dire need of a striker and in Torres, they will get a high-profile forward, if not currently prolific.
The 33-year-old Spaniard may have lost the electric pace which once made him one of the most lethal strikers in world football, but still remains an exciting buy. The Torres-Benitez combo could do wonders again just like they did at Liverpool if the striker remains determined to prove a point.
However, given the striker has not scored this season, it comes as a huge gamble for Benitez. Indeed, Torres has become a shadow of the player he once was and might struggle to keep himself fit in the Premier League.
Despite Benitez eyeing Torres as the ideal candidate to solve his goal-scoring woes, he cannot simply afford to take any risks. At 33, it will be difficult for Torres to roll back the years at Newcastle, given the striker’s loss in sharpness and movement.
Also, the former Milan striker is going to turn 34 next March and there are big clouds of doubt whether the striker will bolster Newcastle’s attack, which already has the likes of Dwight Gayle, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Joselu.
Instead of moving for Torres, Benitez could prioritise acquiring a proven Premier League forward during the January transfer window to solve Newcastle’s problems. The likes of Danny Ings, Callum Wilson or Diafro Sakho would prove to be better strikers now and could be up for grabs on a short-term deal.
Benitez has helped Newcastle earn promotion and would do everything to keep them in the top-flight. A smart tactician, he should dodge the Torres bullet despite being a huge fan of ‘El Nino’. The entire Tyneside have huge expectations placed on him.