Fernando Torres: Timing Is Everything

By , January 29, 2011 10:57 am

Upon hearing the unthinkable news that Fernando Torres desired to leave Liverpool and go to one of their Premier League rivals, Chelsea, the one and only question running through my mind was: Why? While clubs have made their admiration for Torres obvious over the three plus years he’s excelled at Liverpool, there was never any indication the forward ever wanted to leave. He’s made statements in the press professing his love for Liverpool Football Club, and his most important statement has always been on the pitch where he’s been prolific as a goal scorer. Despite a recent drop in form, which most believe had more to do with his lack of respect for former manager Roy Hodgson, Torres has been given a new lease of life under Kenny Dalglish and has looked the player we all knew he was. So why leave now? With new owners already showing they mean business, a new manager whom the Spaniard respects, and a clear indication that the club’s ambitions are to get back to the top with the additions of Luis Suarez, Damien Comolli, and Steve Clarke, then his desire to leave only seems more bizarre at this moment in time.

It’s very difficult to know where to begin, primarily because it’s a strange feeling to be hurt by a football player. This person doesn’t know me, and I don’t know them, but somehow we’ve cultivated a relationship together that is hard to explain. This is the case with Liverpool’s (or perhaps soon to be Chelsea’s) Fernando Torres. He’s a player that has produced moments of magic over the years. He endeared himself to the fans almost immediately upon his arrival, and he’s never failed to set Anfield alight on more than one occasion. And the fans love him for it.

In this way, the relationship between the fans and their football club can be compared to a marriage. When a player signs a contract, they are committing to the team, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. If the team does poorly, the player doesn’t jump ship, and the opposite is true (not always, but more often than not, especially at Liverpool). What hurts is that through all Torres’ injuries and bouts of low confidence, the club and its fans have stuck by his side, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. We’ve watched as he’s had recurring knee and hamstring injuries leaving him out of the side for weeks and months at a time. Did the fans demand that he be sold? Did they turn their back on him after all he had done for them? Never. And yet with this transfer request, Torres has blatantly treated the fans with such a lack of respect for all their support through the years. He’s basically put two fingers up to the Kop, the ferocious fan base that has sung his name hundreds of times, in favor of a move to another team.

Why Leave The Club Now? Liverpool Fans Dismayed At Torres' Desire To Leave LFC

Don’t get me wrong; I completely understand a player’s desire to move on at some point. There’s nothing that says, no matter what, a player has to or will want to stay at one club for most of his career. I believe that if Torres had made the decision to complete the season, playing his best for the club and the club ended the season relatively well, he might still feel the same way he does now. If that was the case, the fans and club would be disappointed to lose him, but it would make more sense to move on when the club has adequate time to utilize the enormous amount of money from his transfer to buy two or three replacements. £40-£50 million is great, but only when given the time to use it. This is the issue I think some people, fans and media alike, are missing. It’s not about the money, but the timing of Torres wanting to leave.

Sadly, Torres’ sudden change of heart to leave the club that made him the world-class player he is may not have been as sudden as it seems. Jason Burt at the Telegraph reported after the news broke that Abramovich had flown to South Africa during the World Cup specifically to have a word in Torres’ ear about a potential move to Stamford Bridge. And while Torres remained loyal, stating numerous times in the summer, and as recently as January 9th that his desire was to stay with Liverpool and honor his contract, Abramovich continued his pursuit. Apparently, Ancelotti is not convinced about signing Torres, but of course, what Abramovich wants, Abramovich gets (Shevchenko anyone?). Supposedly the Russian has promised Torres shelves of silverware, but what makes Torres think this is possible?

Once again, here come the questions. Despite still being contenders for the Champions League this season, Chelsea are a team perhaps more in decline than Liverpool are at this current time. Their squad is seriously aging and most point to this as a direct reason for their slide down the table this season. With Terry, 30, Lampard, 32, Ashley Cole, 30, Anelka, 31, Drogba, 32, Malouda, 30, and Petr Cech becoming a shadow of his former self, this team needs a massive rebuild and it may take a couple years before they start seriously challenging for trophies again, especially with the Financial Fair Play rules coming into effect after this transfer window. No longer can the Russian oligarch throw his checkbook around without abandon. They will have to be shrewd, and may not get everyone they want anymore.

So why join a team that is aging and in need of many replacements, while also not looking to challenge for any honors this season? I honestly can’t believe that Torres thinks they can win the Champions League. This apparently is said to be the reason he wants to leave in January, rather than the summer. If that’s the case, then he must be more disillusioned than when Liverpool fans were told Roy Hodgson would improve Liverpool Football Club.

The feelings of fear, followed closely by hurt, disappointment, and sadness are what has engulfed Liverpool fans in the past 24 hours. January 28th was supposed to be the day that the team celebrated the signing of Luis Suarez, an extremely promising young goal scorer who’s potential partnership with Torres was mouth watering. Instead, it turned into one of the most disheartening and dispiriting days in the club’s history. This isn’t about a player wanting to leave; it’s about the player picking the absolute worst time to do it. That, coupled with the fact that only three weeks earlier, he once again stated his commitment to the club only makes the situation so much more unbelievable.

Players leaving for other clubs have become as much a part of modern football as billionaires buying titles. But what was so hurtful about Fernando Torres was the way in which he made it clear he wanted to go. Why leave mid-season when you know the club needs you? Why leave for one of our biggest rivals? Why go to a team that looks like it’s on its way down in the mid to long term rather than up? Why break the hearts of the fans that have stood by your side through all the highs and lows of the last three years? Liverpool fans know that when a player comes to Liverpool it’s because they want to play for the club, and love to do it. Liverpool, no matter its current station, is a special place and special players will be deified. As fans, we always felt the love was mutual.

No matter what happens now, Fernando Torres has rather foolishly broken the unique bond he built with Liverpool. The situation may change and Torres may stay a Liverpool player, and the fans may yet come around in some time if that happens, á la Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. But it’s not looking good. Nothing about his character ever suggested he would leave in this manner. It’s a sad day for Liverpool Football Club. Not because they might be losing one of their best players, but because that player decided to leave at the worst time, in the worst circumstances, and for all the wrong reasons. Liverpool was willing to love you through thick and thin, it’s a shame you didn’t feel the same.

35 Responses to “Fernando Torres: Timing Is Everything”

  1. Ray says:

    What hurts is that through all Torres’ injuries and bouts of low confidence, the club and its fans have stuck by his side, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. We’ve watched as he’s had recurring knee and hamstring injuries leaving him out of the side for weeks and months at a time. Did the fans demand that he be sold? Did they turn their back on him after all he had done for them? Never.

    That is honestly not true. I have saw plenty of people and especially recently that they wanted Fernando gone. So the KOP is not as squeaky clean as we like it to be. We are a family and sometimes as a family some people might think of leaving the home. And then change their mind and stay there. Also he hasn’t said he want to go over Chelsae and yet everyone is saying he’s going there. Can we at least get a statement from Fernando or Kenny before we start hanging Fernando? Steven Gerrard did the same thing and we adore him now. And sometimes if you dont question yourself and your commitment how do you even know it’s true in the first place?

    • I agree Ray. And while I am expressing my feelings at being very sad and disappointed, I never ruled out that he may change his mind and the fans would be forgiving as I said here: “The situation may change and Torres may stay a Liverpool player, and the fans may yet come around in some time if that happens, á la Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.”

      I am not turning my back on Torres until I know all the facts and it remains to be seen if he follows through with a transfer. However, I am merely describing my dismay at the way he has approached the situation.

    • REDseptember says:

      Sorry Ray,firstly he has intimated he wants to join Chelsea (as observed by almost every news outlet worldwide.He asked that LFC would enter into negotiations with Chelsea after the first offer came in. I would also say that the LFC fans all over the globe have idolised Torres in their hundreds of thousands.Only recently, following well below par poor performances,have some fans questioned his commitment.You create a picture of fans having not totally supported him for some time by saying “I have saw plenty of people and especially recently that they wanted Fernando gone.Paying fans react to lack of effort, especially at LFC.

  2. john says:

    Well said, couldnt have put it better myself

  3. Mehul Bhujwala says:

    Judas

  4. lnl says:

    They didn’t stick by him they made him play while he was injured,and they had to play him beacouse he is the only quality striker they have,he doesn’t want Liverpool to ruin his career like they ruined kewells. He also does not owe liverpool a dam thing a player of his quality should be competing for titles an be in the championsship leage

    • Isaac says:

      Poor analysis, Kewell came injury prone from Leeds. Teams pay a lot of money for these players so as soon as they are fit they have to play them. By your logic, Venga is ruining RVP and Cesc’s career?

      Torres has not had much of a career apart from at Liverpool. Everywhere else other than Liverpool he has been just a player with potential. The club is responsible for the best part of his career. “A player of his quality” considering his form for Spain and his Athletico Madrid career is well placed in the Europa League.

      Besides he owes it to the team to HONOR HIS CONTRACT.

      • I tend to agree with you, Isaac. I believe LFC made Torres into the player he is today. At Atletico Madrid, he was full or potential. At Liverpool, Benitez must be credited with helping transform that potential into the world-class player he is today.

        Despite Torres feeling he can demand whatever he wants, he does owe the club. He owes them not just for helping him become the player he is, but for the contract he signed. No one put a gun to his head and said “sign this contract.” It was his choice, and he should honor it as a professional, whether he wants to be there now or not.

    • SG says:

      If there was an issue regarding injuries I find it ironic that Rafa was crucified for not playing him or subbing him. Can’t win.

  5. dvb says:

    its very simple,we are NOT going to commit suicide and sell torres to chelsea,or any other rival,and especially not at this stage where we wouldnt be able to bring in the players from his money,and not when saurez may take time to settle!.

    He goes in the summer,and goes abroad,simple as,no question of this.

    he goes for the highest amount possible,more than ronaldo went for!.

    He would fail as chelsea would fail.the teams on a downslope,all slaves to the big greedy owner.

    old players will be gone for them,we will have a relatively young and experienced squad,who buys smart,and they wont be able to splash the cash beyond the summer!.

    we will be there with the manager,the players,the squad,the owners all unified and together able to compete in everything.chelsea will be strained, old,split and on the downslope,or with a team of individuals taking a long time to mould into a team as new players.

    who is to say its not possible for us to get 4th instead of chelsea!.

    who is to say we can not win the europa league and get 4th.

    and chelsea will get knocked out of the champions league and slip below us in the table!,with thier old players all getting injured.

  6. Amy says:

    i know what you mean, i feel like he has betrayed me and whatever state he is in i would love to keep him at the club… couldnt agree more with this artical and im sure if fernando himself read this would rethink his decison cuz he has made a bit of a mess for himself and its gonna be hard to get out of…

  7. Arjun Mohan Spolia says:

    Since the news of Nando’s transfer request came out, I have been experiencing a plethora of emotions that have been hard to describe. I am here in New Delhi, India, far far away from England, Merseyside and Anfield. Over the past 12 years of this love affair with this beautiful football club I have come to call ‘mine’, I have been through many an emotional roller-coasters. Your article brings out each emotion felt, I guess by every single Red, everywhere in the world, most eloquently. Thank you for sharing, it’s extremely comforting to read in words the very emotions you’ve been sitting down on; to know that someone else has felt the exact same thing.
    Torres or No Torres, nothing is bigger than this club.

    YNWA Danielle!

    • Thank you, Arjun. Your kind words mean a lot. It feels very special to be a fan of a football team, especially a team as special as Liverpool. Sometimes the best part of being a fan is knowing that you’re never alone, no matter where you are in the world.

      Keep reading, YNWA.

  8. Derek says:

    Great article Danielle. I’ve been wondering whether chelsea have been utlising their tapping up skills again. I have to say though, I’ve been wondering all season, until Kenny took over, whether Torres actually wanted to be at Liverpool. He’s looked decidedly uninterested for the majority of the season and has only looked antyhng like the player he was, once Kenny took charge.

    I guess, the answer everyone wants is “Why Now? Why not at the start of the transfer window” It just does not make sense to want to go just 3 days from the close of the window, and why Chelsea indeed, an ageing side. I would understand more if it were Man City a team on the rise, but not Chelsea.

    I do believe now we’re going to have one very unhappy player on our hands until the summer. Stick him in the reserves and then sell him to the highest bidder in the summer, we can then rebuild the side that Rafa tore apart.

    • Thank you, Derek. I agree with a lot of what you said.

      It would seem from what’s being said in the press that Torres wasn’t anticipating the club not letting him go. This puts everyone in an awkward position, and it’s all of his own creation.

      I think everyone involved with LFC, from the staff and players to the fans feel knocked back by the situation and it will be hard to rectify. In the end, it’s just a shame. I don’t think anyone wanted things to play out this way.

      • Sampson says:

        Danielle, good read. Well done.
        Derek, I don’t know if this helps as to the “why now?” question but he only handed the request in upon hearing about the bid from Chelsea. Chelsea were rebuffed earlier in the window in an approach for Aguero (also a bif of 35m) and then came knocking for Torres.
        If I was kenny or comolli, I would be asking for 45m plus Anelka and also be on the phone to atletico Madrid telling them they can have every penny we receive for fernando in return for augero and consider it almost a straight swap.
        Aguero is a fantastic player, younger than Torres and would link with suarez in the same way Torres might have. Just a thought

        • Sampson says:

          Also, don’t underestimate cowardice in the timing of it all. Nando is currently on a 3 day break to Spain and didn’t want to be in Liverpool to face demonstrations outside his house and probably hoped the deal would be done without him having to face the city

          • Thanks Paul :) very good points you’ve made as well. And again, if he leaves, the club moves on and getting someone like Aguerro would be very appealing to many fans. It’s the betrayal that hurts though, no matter what happens.

            Also, good point about the cowardice. He must be finding life difficult at Melwood right now!

    • Jack says:

      “..the side that Rafa tore apart”. Are you serious? This is Rafa’s side more or less. And if you haven’t noticed, Torres, the player being discussed was signed by Rafa for a mere £21 million.

  9. Lyandra says:

    I’m from Bombay, India and I just stopped by to tell you that this is one of the best articles I’ve read on the whole Torres saga.

    Devastated though I am by the news that a striker of his caliber wants to leave, I still maintain that if he wants to leave, we should let him. Just not to Chelsea, one of our biggest rivals.

    With or without Torres though, we’ll still be Liverpool Football Club.

  10. Karl Seasman says:

    Excellent piece of writing which touches all the thoughts and questions running through my mind since yesterday. The marriage element was so poignant for me as I received my absolute this morning but the feeling in the pit of my stomach has been about a footballer who plays for my team and not the end of something more personal. Crazy I know but football does that to you. Luckily I am good ‘old scouser who is going out on the lash now and doesn’t care how much I lose in the casino. Tomorrow is a better day.

  11. Muppetfinder General says:

    All the questions but still no answers.

    None of it makes sense.

    Jury still out.

  12. Eldel says:

    Great article and I agree with all your comments but I believe the club will prosper going forward regardless of whether he stays or not. The dark days are fading.

  13. Mayank says:

    Dear Danielle,

    A great article, Exudes the feeling of every RED today. I am from Delhi and became a Liverpool fan since 1998 – the year I watched football for the first time. Reason was simple — Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina. Owen left but my love stayed for the club. Owen went to RM with big signings and what did he win there??ZILCH.

    I hope and pray Torres realizes that it is not big signings which win things but the bond of the team. Shankly did not have the big names until we signed Keagan. Who knew of Barnes and Aldridge when they arrived to fill in the boots of Rush. These guys performed on the field and became big. I hope he stays but if he does not, we will definitely find a new no. 9 who will be transformed into a lethal combination with Suarez.

    For the fans, IMO — THE CREST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IMPRINT ON THE RED SHIRT and everything else is second.

    He will definitely be hated for the timing of his request

    • Thank you Mayank. Appreciate the comments and very much agree. Of course I believe that even if he goes, the club will move on, perhaps even better or stronger. It’s simply the way he’s gone about it that has been so disappointing in the fans eyes.

  14. Steve Hirst says:

    As the point of the article states,it’s not what he’s done but the timing. Why not ask to leave last summer when we had poor management and bad owners with huge debts,now all those problems are resolved he decides to move on. He should honour the contract he signed and stay at least till end of season to see the position LFC are in. His value wont decrease and i’m sure with the whole summer transfer window the likes of Inter,AC,Real and Barca will be wading in with the BIG money. He has totally dis-respected the club and it’s fans who have put him where he is today. If he thinks he will get the same admiration at Chelsea then he’s sadly mistaken.
    Vut no player is bigger than the club…it’s the name on the front of the shirt that counts not the 1 on the back. And that counts for any player

  15. [...] was mentioned in the previous post regarding Torres’ poorly timed (and possibly ill-advised) decision to leave Liverpool, Chelsea [...]

  16. Usman says:

    First off, amazing article! You’ve described just about everything a true red would feel about this sorry affair. Although at the moment I am hating Torres, I am willing to forgive and forget just because he gave us so much joy over the last 3 n a half years. It was a spectacle every time he got the ball and often it would end up in the back of the net.

    The true motives behind his move could be a lot more than whats visible. Maybe he was fed up of the slow movement by the new owners. Our first signing in Suarez was completed on deadline day and by then I reckon it was too late for him to change his mind. He seemed very determined to just leave. I agree that the timing of this could not have been worse, but I guess there could be more to it than we know. Only time will tell. I just want to tell everyone that I feel very positive about us getting two immensely talented forwards in Suarez and Carroll and things can only be better. Besides that, our net spending has just been about 5-7M. We can buy 2 world class wide men and a couple of solid defenders in the summer when there are sure to be departures as well :) I know it won’t be easy to get over his departure but lets just wish him good luck and move on to a brighter future under King Kenny.

    I was watching some pictures posted on twitter of the dull welcome he got at Stamford Bridge. A few people only, looking from a distance; more like a bus queue :P compared to the noisy welcome Carroll got upon his arrival. Money can’t buy you love. You’ll find out very soon Fernando! the grass won’t be greener because there’s only ONE Liverpool Football Club.

    “There’s no name on the back of the shirt more important than the crest at the front”

    • Thank you, Usman! I think we will find out more in time, and it will be interesting. So many Liverpool fans have been so hurt by his actions. I know it’s the way of football to move around etc., but there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do that.

      But enough of that, it’s time to get excited at our new signings, and I look forward to this summer. With money to spend, we can finally go out and get that world class winger we’ve been desperate for for years. Throw in a quality, young centerback and leftback and suddenly this team starts to really shape up.

  17. Rishad says:

    Why did he changed the team.i am really sorry of that. Now i dont like to see premier leagu after he leaves the team.

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