Fernando Torres’ Chelsea career is officially over after the Premier League leaders announced he will make his loan move to AC Milan permanent next month.
Torres, 30, won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup in three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, but he never lived up to expectations after a 50 million-pound transfer from Liverpool, failing to replicate his once-prolific scoring record in London.
He moved to Milan on a two-year loan in August and, although he has been strongly linked with a return to his first club Atletico Madrid in recent days, on Saturday Chelsea announced a deal had been reached for him to join Milan permanently from Jan. 5.
A statement said: “Fernando Torres is to join AC Milan on a permanent basis. The striker moved to the San Siro on a two-year loan deal in August and on January 5 he will complete a permanent transfer to the Serie A side.
“Chelsea Football Club thanks Fernando for his service during the past four seasons and wishes him the very best for the future.”
The deal does not rule out a return to Atletico in the upcoming transfer window. The Spanish champions have indicated they do not have the funds for a permanent deal themselves, but may yet sign him on another loan deal from Milan once he has left Chelsea, or complete a swap deal with Alessio Cerci going the other way.
A return home could be what Torres needs to reignite a once-sparkling career. The World Cup winner and double European champion scored 46 goals in 172 Chelsea appearances, but only 20 of those came in 110 league outings — a poor return when compared with the 65 Premier League goals he scored in 102 appearances for Liverpool.
Torres moved to Stamford Bridge late on January transfer deadline day in 2011 for a then-record British fee, but initial struggles soon appeared to be a crisis of confidence as he managed just one goal in 18 appearances before the end of the season.
The following season he scored 11 goals, including a hat trick against QPR and a vital breakaway goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal, but still looked a shadow of himself.
His best season in a Chelsea shirt came in the following campaign as he scored 22 goals across seven competitions, including the winner in the Europa League final against Benfica. Yet he managed only 11 goals the following season, after which Jose Mourinho broke up his misfiring striking trio of Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba, all of whom left the club.
Torres’ move to Milan has not exactly seen his form ignite, with only one goal in 10 appearances, but that has not prevented a deal being done.