31 January 2011

On Torres' Exit

And the deal's done. No link to Liverpool's official statement, but the BBC, among others, are reporting £50m, with a rumored wage rise to £175,000 a week. Fernando Torres is confirmed as yet another football mercenary. I don't know why I was initially surprised.

Torres is a tremendous talent – he's demonstrated that time and time again at Anfield – but just urinated all over his potential legacy. He could have been a Liverpool legend, one of the greatest players in club history, and now he'll be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Owen at best. It's not like when he left Atletico, saying all the right things to fans of both clubs, which demonstrates how little regard he actually had for Liverpool. I expected better. I know I shouldn't have. I'm too old to fall for modern footballers.

At nearly 27, it's understandable that Torres isn't up for a rebuilding project. He left his boyhood club for less. And yes, Liverpool is a rebuilding project. You may have noticed the struggles over the last 18 months. The root cause of this remains Hicks, Gillett, and Purslow.

But that's not an excuse for handing in a transfer request with three days left in the January window and not an excuse for joining an aging, soulless team that Liverpool has to face in a week's time.

Torres scored 81 goals in 142 games and ran himself into the ground in the process, leading to injuries which kept him out of matches against his former club and the World Cup. And he still kept scoring despite missing so many matches – he's got nine in 23 during this horrific league campaign; only Berbatov, Tevez, Carroll and Nolan have scored more league goals this season. He's actually made more appearances in the league this season than through all of last year. That blighted campaign saw 22 league appearances. He made 24 the season before. £50m for a striker prone to muscle injuries is a lot of money.

He developed into one of the world's best strikers at Liverpool, but the club haven't won any silverware since Torres signed. It's not his fault by any means, but still a fact of life. Three of Rafa's Spanish-speaking jewels – Torres, Alonso, and Mascherano – are now gone, having made Liverpool nearly £60m in profit. Only Alonso held any silverware aloft – in his first two seasons.

Torres' exit isn't like Alonso's, or even Owen's. Alonso left time for Liverpool to find a replacement, returned to his home country, and has been wholly complementary about the club since his departure. While Owen ran down his contract until Liverpool could only get £8m + Nuñez, he at least also went abroad – and we knew it was inevitable. This Torres malarky leaves a much worse taste in the mouth. If he left next summer, he'd leave with acceptance. Shafting Liverpool during such a chaotic spell, seeing out Hodgson, Hicks and Gillett only to want away once FSG and Dalglish had brought back optimism, does that much more harm.

It's unfortunate that a player who gave us so many magical moments over the last three and a half years is leaving in such a manner. And other than the damage done by the previous owners – which he's not alone in suffering – it's his own fault. He's the one sneaking out the back door in the slim hopes of silverware at a club whose fans used to spit venomously at him. We hate you now because we loved you, and thought the feeling was mutual. Thanks for the memories, but I can't wish him well.

7 comments:

Ace Cowboy said...

Mixed emotions. Will always have a place in my heart. But Anelka-level sulking could not be tolerated. And we did okay with the money. Oh well, onward and fucking upward.

Liverpool aside, Nate, you rule...as always.

lonelyportrait said...

There's part of me that's accepted he's gone and part of history now, FSG and King Kenny's handling of the affairs have done much to soften the emotional impact of this loss as well. However, quite clearly in the long run, this won't be our loss, but rather Torres.

Unfortunately, I still can't fathom why for a person who proclaimed so much affection for the people who loved, cherished and supported him, of a club which we thought he understood the ethos and traditions, would want to leave without having the opportunity to have a proper sending off, and to say Goodbye in a dignified manner.

Luis Garcia and Fowler are just two names who never had the opportunity to do so but deep down, they wanted to (re Carra's testimonial) and the people love and respect that.

Up till this point, Torres actions and decisions leaves his reputation in tatters and here's hoping that Chelsea won't be much of a success over the couple of years because Liverpool are in ascension and boy will we come at you.

There's no point wishing the boy well. He's gone, he wanted to leave despite seeing what FSG and Dalglish had up their sleeves. He won't find any affection close to what LFC have afforded him all this while and while he certainly deserves to win something, I hope he ends up like a certain Mickey Owen.

dhjax said...

Oh well... leaves a sour taste.. Rankle that bit more because its Chelski... Overall, I suspect we are marginally better from it all..

Anonymous said...

Torres is and will always be a world class talent. He was settled, but naively believed Liverpool would "challenge" again. Let's face it Alonso and Masch are world class and they both left, and we've never had class wingers or a back up striker. If we'd made the "right" moves earlier in the transfer window he might have stayed but he was increasingly disillusioned and so we're better off without him.

We now need to do a "Spurs" and find the right talent, easier said than done as our track record has been patchy in signings over the last 20 years.

Torres - fare the well and I hope you add no more medals to your World Cup and Euro Championship.

Patrick said...

While I can't forgive Fernando for how he left us, I can forgive him for why he left.
I think he did, and does, have a place for Liverpool in his heart, I mean any player who has a personalised armband bearing 'YNWA' must, he was clearly a hugely ambitious person and, in my opinion, the club did not meet his ambitions in the last season and a half. Messrs Hicks and Gillett can have another strike on their record but I don't think it matters at this stage.
While Torres had won the Euros and the WC it obviously wasn't enough for him, he strove to win everything. When Hodgson failed to meet this ambition on the pitch we began to see 'El Sulk' and his thoughts drifted elsewhere.
I'm devastated he didn't give NESV and Kenny until the end of the season but we got a good deal really. The way he angled for a transfer, to Chelsea of all places, was deplorable but I'm still sad he didn't get a farewell.
I'll always be thankful for the good times.

Scott B said...

If he had even made his intentions well known within the club and let the public know when the transfer window opened, that would have given us the time to maximize the transfer and plan things out. Whatever his reasons for waiting this late, he's selfishly hurt our chances to rebuild as effectively.

Anonymous said...

nate
you hit the nail on the head with that one. if he'd done this with a little more grace and aplomb, we could have given him a proper sending off and loved him forever (see Xabi Alsonso). instead he just stabbed us in the back. his arm band proved he was a red, huh? his actions proved he was a rent boy is all he was.