I used to be a big fan of Fernando Torres. Not because he played for Liverpool but because he used to score bags of goals for my championship manager teams. He was always one of the first players I bought when he used to be with Atletico Madrid, along with Rafel Van Der Vaart who was always a bargain buy from Ajax.
Anyway, I was surprised when he moved to Chelsea but then nothing should shock you in football. Footballers’ loyalty can be very fickle. His failure to score more goals has been well documented. Thus far scoring only one goal on a rain soaked pitch, against a poor West Ham. A pretty poor return for £50m. But Torres is not the first in a line of expensive miss-firing Chelsea forwards. I’m not referring to Andriy Shevchenko who only scored 9 league goals in 47 games, but Chris Sutton.
Some Chelsea ‘fans’ may not know who he is (I’m referring to the post Abramovich fans) so this is his Chelsea career quickly summed up: Sutton was signed in ‘99 from Blackburn Rovers for £10m, which was a large fee back then. Sutton had won a Premiership medal with Blackburn Rovers in the 1994-95 season scoring 15 goals. In the 1997-98 season he was the joint highest scorer with 18 goals. The next season Blackburn were relegated and a move to Chelsea followed. Much like Torres, Sutton had a long series of injuries at his former club before his move to Stamford Bridge. Also like the Spaniard, Sutton struggled to fit in with the style of play Chelsea operated with. He only managed to score one goal in the league out of 29 appearances and 3 goals in total in his one and only season with Chelsea. During his time at Chelsea they did manage to win the FA Cup, but Sutton did not even make it among the substitutes. Ultimately he would not be giving a second season at Chelsea and was moved onto Celtic for £6m.
It would be a stretch to say that Chris Sutton and Fernando Torres are in the same class but I think the parallels between the two strikers are interesting. Chelsea do appear to have an unfortunate history with recently acquired strikers – think Claudio Pizarro, Andriy Shevchenko, Mateja Kez man, Mikael Forssell, Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu. Torres should take some solace in the knowledge that he isn’t the first and won’t be the last striker to struggle in the blue of Chelsea.
(I would like to point out I’m aware that Drogba and Hasselbaink are and were great strikers for Chelsea, but mentioning that would make this blog less dramatic)