Fernando Torres bidding to banish Chelsea blues with Milan deal
Fernando Torres' frustrating and underwhelming time as a Chelsea player looks to be nearly over after AC Milan struck a deal to take him on a two-year loan.
Much was expected from the 30-year-old when he arrived from Liverpool in January 2011 for what was a British record deal.
However, Torres fell well short of living up to his £50million price tag and, after a frustrating three and a half years at Stamford Bridge, appears to have played his last match for the club.
Last night – just hours after manager Jose Mourinho downplayed speculation he would leave – Chelsea confirmed the Spain striker would be joining AC Milan on loan until the expiration of his contract in 2016, subject to a medical.
"Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan have agreed terms for the two-year loan deal of Fernando Torres to the Italian club," read a statement on the club's official website.
"The move is now subject to Fernando agreeing personal terms with AC Milan and passing a medical examination."
Torres became the butt of many a joke during his time at Stamford Bridge but it was not without its successes, given he won the Champions League, Europa League and an FA Cup.
The much-criticised frontman won the Golden Boot on the way to Spain's Euro 2012 triumph during his time with Chelsea and, while he went to the World Cup, his lack of form and playing time this season saw him miss out on the latest squad for the upcoming matches against France and Macedonia.
Perhaps that lack of recognition fuelled his desire to move to the San Siro – a move Mourinho, speaking before the deal was confirmed, could understand.
"If he wants to leave, in the case he wants to, it's because he wants to try a new life, a new club, probably a new league," the Portuguese said.
"So if he wants to leave, which until this moment I have not one single word about, I believe that is to try to be happier than he was in the last couple of years.
"This is a very human club in the way the club approaches this kind of situation. If he comes to us, any possibility would be analysed by us as a club and the best decision for him."
Meanwhile, Mourinho believes the seeding system for the Champions League is "strange".
Thursday's draw raised questions about the way each group is determined, especially the way clubs that have not won a league title in years could be ranked higher than reigning champions.
Arsenal, for example, were one of the top seeds despite having not won the Premier League in a decade and finishing fourth last season, whereas title-winners like Paris St Germain, Juventus and Manchester City were ranked lower.
"Maybe what they have to look at is the criteria to qualify teams for different pots," Mourinho said of the current system.
"I know Roma, for example, have not played in Europe for a few years, but they are runners-up in Italy so to be in the fourth pot is hard.
"On the other hand, teams that don't win titles for a long, long time, they are in the first, second and third seeds.
"Also, I think it's not fair that the points you make in the Europa League help you make a coefficient for the Champions League.
"You go in the Europa League, you win more matches, you make more points and then become protected by these points.
"It gives you a bigger coefficient in the Champions League. That criteria is strange."