Fernando Torres is a World Cup winner, a European Championship winner, and... that's it.
The Spaniard departed his beloved Atletico Madrid, where he had played for seven years since making his senior debut at the age of 17, to join Liverpool four years ago. He did so because he was unable to compete at the top level with the club he was at.
And after three-and-a-half seasons on Merseyside, Torres clearly believed that he had reached the same stage at Liverpool.
Runners-up in the Champions League just weeks before Torres arrived, Liverpool have failed to compete in the final of any cup competition since then. An extra time defeat to his former club in last season's Europa League was about as close as the Reds have come to lifting a cup in his time with the club, and unless they can go one better in the same competition this year, another barren year will go by.
For as bad as the 2009/10 season appeared, the first half of the current campaign has been disastrous to the point of making last year feel like a success in comparison. But from the change of ownership in October to the re-introduction of Kenny Dalglish as manager earlier this month, the outlook for the club's future has begun to look much brighter in recent weeks.
It is for this reason that many fans are struggling to understand just why the kid from sunny Spain has been so deperate to leave during the January transfer window, especially following Liverpool's agreement with Ajax to bring Luis Suarez to Anfield, a sign that the current owners are making good on their promise to strengthen the team and ensure the club become competitive again.
Clearly there are further reinforcements needed to a squad which has been lacked both the quality and the depth of those considered to be rival clubs, but there have been recent improvements on the pitch from players already at the club since Dalglish took charge. Additionally, there are positive signs that some of the things put in place by Rafael Benitez to improve the club's youth system will continue to bear fruit. Of those given their opportunities this season, Martin Kelly has been the stand out performer, and already been tipped to challenge for a place in Fabio Capello's England squad before long.
Not much has been worthy of shouting about in the 18 months since finishing runners-up in the Premiership, but the future really does look brighter for Liverpool FC. However it is a future which Fernando Torres clearly isn't prepared to wait around in order to find out if the new era is to see silverware brought back to Anfield any time soon.
In contrast to the array of young up and coming talent breaking through the ranks at Anfield, Torres arrives at a club with a highly talented team, but one which is made up of first team players at the wrong end of their careers. Many are in their thirties, with others not far behind. Whilst still a strong side capable of challenging for the major honours, it's doubtful that will continue for much longer without a major overhaul. Preferably for Torres, major reinforcements will need to be in place within the next couple of years because by that time, he will be about to turn 29. Not something which is an issue for most people, but there aren't too many strikers - particularly those whose game relies heavily on pace - who remain in their prime much beyond that age.
Whether Torres achieves the success he craves remains to be seen, but it is by no means guaranteed. Chelsea are currently positioned a long way behind Man United in the league, with Man City and Arsenal better placed to challenge United for the title. In the Champions League, Barcelona and Real Madrid would have to be overcome, and some may feel that the current crop of players at Chelsea have missed their best opportunities to land the Champions League title.
From Chelsea's perspective, Torres will no doubt improve their chances of success. When fit and in form, he remains is as deadly a striker as any in the world. But a £50million price tag does represent something of gamble for a player with an injury record that has caused so much disruption during much of the last two years, and which may limit his appearances - and his impact.
In three-and-a-half years at Liverpool, Fernando Torres has become one of the finest strikers in the Premier League era, though for a player who has continually spoken so favourably about Liverpool and its fans, he gives up an lot in his quest for club honours. He has left behind a severely damaged reputation amongst fans at a club where he had the potential to achieve legendary status.
It's a risky move. Both for him, and his new club.
From an original article posted on jamiefeatherstone.co.uk. Follow the link to add comments.