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.