Although current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has promised to resurrect the career of Fernando Torres, but there is always the off-chance that those at the top might choose to move him on for a younger replacement in an attempt to free up the club’s wage bill, given that his goalscoring form has been extremely inconsistent, despite having found the back of the net 20 times in all competitions last season.
Here are five players who could replace the Spaniard at Stamford Bridge:
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and France)
Four years younger than 29-year-old Torres, Benzema has been watched by the international media ever since he broke through the ranks at Olympique Lyonnais in 2007.
Despite being only 19, Benzema led the line and was awarded the number 10 shirt when several experienced players including Florent Malouda, John Carew and Sylvain Wiltord all leaving the club. He was top scorer in Ligue 1 with 31 goals in all competitions and he helped Lyon to their first ever double.
Two seasons later, he was still playing in white but the badge on the shirt belonged to Real Madrid. Since joining the club, despite being constantly rotated with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Gonzalo Higuain, he has managed to consistently score goals. He has found the back of the net 87 times in 183 games, or roughly a goal every two games.
It is a statistic that he has kept up throughout his professional career. With 168 goals in 351 games, he was named the France Football French Player of the Year in 2011 and would definitely suit Chelsea’s playing style.
As comfortable in the role of fox-in-the-box as he is leading the line or playing in the role of the shadow striker, Benzema has great presence in the area and his skill in the air only adds to his qualities as a prolific marksman.
In addition to scoring goals, he has contributed 49 assists since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu, which points to his abilities to function as a team player.
But whether Madrid will be keen on letting him go is not known. Benzema is first-choice for Madrid and one of the reasons Gonzalo Higuain left the Spanish capital is because he was constantly overlooked in favour of the Frenchman. He is club President Florentino Perez’s favourite at the club and is valued at £30 million.
With Financial Fair Play coming in, he might be a little expensive even for a club of Chelsea’s stature.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City and Argentina)
The same age as Benzema, Aguero is another striker who has been prolific for both club and country. Having already proved himself in the Premier League, he is a ready-made replacement for Torres at the Bridge.
It was Aguero who came into the spotlight at Atletico Madrid when Torres departed for England and his arrival at Stamford Bridge would be history repeating himself. Aguero is capable of playing both as a lone striker and with a striker partner, as he did during his time at both Atletico and City.
At the Vicente Calderon, he was regularly paired with Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan. In 2007, he was the third-highest scorer in La Liga. The season after, he ranked fourth in the list of Primera Liga goalscorers. Forlan picked up the ‘pichichi’ gong that season.
His impact at the Etihad Stadium was immediate. He will always be remembered for his contributions to City’s first ever Premier League title triumph and what transpired on the final day of the season as the Citizens clinched the trophy in the dying seconds of the game.
But he will definitely have a very high price tag. He was bought for €23 million to Atletico from Independiente and City paid €45 million to bring him to England. He is currently valued at £30 million and even if City were to sell to one of their title rivals, they will surely attach a whopping price tag to him.
But should Chelsea snap him up, he would represent an excellent signing. He is prolific in front of goal, is very versatile, is strong in the air, has the physical qualities to excel in the league and like Benzema, has a record of a goal every two games. He’s scored 171 goals in 381 games at club level and a further 18 in 45 for his nation.
Jackson Martinez (Porto and Colombia)
6″1′ striker Martinez has been prolific in his one season in Europe. Having scored 26 goals in 30 league games for the Portuguese side, Martinez has already attracted attention from other European clubs.
Having shunned the attentions of Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester United, Martinez has already begun to make a name for himself in Europe. Napoli have been enquiring about the Colombian and with the money the club have recouped from the sale of Edinson Cavani, could add him to the club’s ranks this summer.
With physical strength, great anticipatory skills and a great goals to game ratio, Martinez would be a good addition at Stamford Bridge. He’s already overtaken Radamel Falcao, Lisandro Lopez and Hulk by scoring 11 goals in his first 12 games.
But ‘Jackshadow’ Martinez might not be first choice amongst those who weigh in on transfer dealings at Chelsea because he is 26 and has only one year of expertise in Europe. Nevertheless, should Chelsea choose to spring for him, they would get him on the cheap.
He only cost Porto $11 million and despite having the reputation of selling players for very large sums of money after getting them on the cheap, would get him for a relatively low price.
Leandro Damiao (Internacional and Brazil)
The only player on this list to not play in Europe, Damiao would be a shrewd piece of investment by the Stamford Bridge side. Having already attracted attention from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Internazionale Milano, Damiao could add to the Brazilian contingent at Stamford Bridge.
Aged only 24, the Brazilian has the best years of his career ahead of him and with an excellent scoring record for both club and country, the 6’2″ striker could become a long-term addition for the club to suit the club’s new policy of recruiting young players which has seen them recruit the Belgian trio of Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku in the past. To that collection of players have been added Kenneth Omeruo, Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel.
But an issue that would concern the Chelsea staff would be his injury record. He missed out on the 2013 Confederations Cup on account of being injured.
Being Brazilian, he has already gained a reputation for combining the tricks and flicks normally associated with Ronaldinho with a penchant for ruthless goalscoring which will surely deliver results at the Bridge. But like any other top-of-the-range striker, he will cost a pretty penny. He is valued at €22 million and will surely fetch more if Chelsea were to attempt to buy him.
Like the others on this list, he also has a record of a goal every two games with 83 goals from 149 games.