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Falcao for Torres swap may be just what the doctor ordered

Mar 25, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT

FBL-EUR-C3-CHELSEA-STEAUA BUCHAREST

In the buildup to what promises to be a drama filled summer transfer window, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has raised questions on Radamel Falcao’s future while simultaneously opening the door for a dramatic return of Fernando Torres to his former club.

When asked what Falcao’s future may hold, Simeone was tight-lipped: “I’m not Falcao and I’m not his agent,” he said with a shrug. “He always gives his all and I really respect players who do that. But everyone makes their own decisions in life. Every person is different, and we have to respect each other.”

Simeone’s comments do little to support the notion that Falcao will be leading Los Rojiblancos line come next season. One year removed from scoring 24 goals in 33 La Liga appearances and 12 in 13 Europa League ties, rumors of El Tigre’s impending departure have been swirling like World Cup Qualifying blizzards in Denver. This season he’s already nabbed 21 goals in 51 league matches and conventional wisdom suggests the Premier League would be a naughty fit for Falcao’s furious power and strike rate.

Up until today, rumors of a Falcao move to Chelsea or Manchester City were largely just that, rumors. Now it’s clear that Atleti higher-ups like Simeone aren’t holding out much hope for Falcao to remain at the Vicente Calderon.

The Atleti manager added more fuel to the fire by discussing Torres’ potential return to the red and white stripes. “Fernando knows about the club’s history, what it means to play here and I don’t need to speak about his ability,” Simeone said. “We were team-mates. I know how important he can be.”

If a deal were to go down, many believe it would involve swapping Torres for Falcao, with Roman Abramovich throwing in a briefcase full of unmarked bills. But as discussed on this site last week, don’t be surprised if the sky-rocketing value of Thibaut Courtois changes the complexion of this deal.

While Los Colchoneros will likely welcome Torres home with open arms, few will feel that El Nino can fill the Columbian’s shoes. Falcao is simply better. His skill, technique, finishing ability and aerial prowess all trumps that of Fernando. More to the point, Falcao’s most impressive attribute is his unwavering focus and fortitude – a quality that has long disappeared from Torres’ makeup.

The proof is in the pudding. At Liverpool, Torres finished with aplomb from every angle on the park. Not unlike Falcao now, Torres was a predator, a player who plied his trade on instinct and one touch finishes. Scoring without thinking was Fernando’s trademark, helping him to an incredible 65 goals in 102 league matches while at Liverpool from 2007-10.

With the monster $79.5 million transfer fee to Chelsea in January 2011, a handful of niggling injuries and a demanding fan base, El Nino lost his mental edge. Instead of relying on blind instinct Torres over-thought everything, leading to his mental midget demise and a mere 14 goals in 74 Premier League matches.

But to close the book on Torres now would be a mistake. Despite his low goal total, he’s shown flashes of the old Fernando throughout the season and a return to his boyhood club – a move that recently revitalized the career of fellow countryman Jose Antonio Reyes at Sevilla – may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

So what do you think of a potential Falcao-for-Torres swap? Is Torres done? Or could a return to the Vicente Calderon revitalize his career?

  1. yeomanswork - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Don’t forget Torres’s defining quality; the ability to put himself offside from anywhere on the pitch.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Ha, love it. My boy Nikica Jelavic is a pro at this move as well.

  2. scoocha - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Mental midget demise is due to playing against better overall teams. Look at past moves like Shevchenko, who’s numbers eroded once he came to England. Higher competition equals lower output. Torres is solid, love the offsides comment that was so good.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      Better teams and higher competition? Not sure how that’s the case seeing as he came to Chelsea after playing in the Prem for 3.5 years at Liverpool.

      • scoocha - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        Not Torres, Falcao. His numbers will drop. I like Torres, just wish he wasn’t on Chelsea.

  3. mianfr - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Torres + $35M (exchange weight equivalent in £/€) + Keep Courtois for Falcao could do it.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      If I’m Atletico and I’m getting Torres + Courtois + $35M, I’m absolutely selling Falcao.

      • mianfr - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        I meant you peg Falcao at like $80M… Courtois is worth around $30M, and really you can just about imagine any number you want for Torres, but at this point, considering how Chelsea uses him, $15M sounds about right.

        He’s a sunk cost and you’re really paying exclusively for past production at the moment… I mean what team would pay more than that for Torres straight up at this point?

  4. jessedinner - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Torres has been horrid for three years now. At this point there is no reason to think he can excel again. I agree he once in a while shows glimpses of his past greatness but it is few and far between.

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