A few weeks ago Fernando Torres announced his plans to leave Atlético Madrid at the end of the current season. It remains a mystery as to where the 34-year-old will go next, but it appears as though Major League Soccer is a viable option for Torres a move that could rejuvenate his career.
Torres has spent the past four seasons with Atlético after his tour in England with Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. Over the past three campaigns though, he’s seen his minutes in LaLiga decrease as his form has dipped. Nonetheless, Torres still has something left in the tank, as displays against LaLiga’s bottom half this season have shown.
Torres has scored only three goals over 24 appearances in the league this season, which on the surface inspires little confidence that he rediscover something in the United States resembling his past form. However, one look into the numbers — and putting them into the appropriate context — shows that a fresh start across the pond could do him good.
Although his goal total doesn’t spark much excitement, Torres averages 2.8 shots per 90mins with 1.3 on target. That isn’t too bad considering he’s only played 758 total minutes in LaLiga.
David Villa is a pretty good comparison to Torres, as Villa finished his European career with Atlético too. In the 2013/14 season, Villa finished with 13 goals on 2.7 shots per 90mins with 1.2 on target over 2431 minutes. Those are similar shot numbers to what Torres has recorded, albeit with fewer goals.
When Villa made his move from Atlético to New York City FC, his production went up — he attempted 4.9 shots per 90 and scored 18 goals. The following two campaigns saw a spike in goal production as the 36-year-old’s late-career renaissance has seen him score resulted in him scoring 20-plus goals on over five shots per 90.
This production is something Torres can emulate if he decides to head to MLS and finds a club that allows him to flourish like Villa has in New York City. Reports are linking him to the Montreal Impact, who desperately need attacking punch — the club sits near the bottom of MLS with six points in eight matches played.
If Montreal can outmuscle the Chicago Fire for Torres, the Spaniard will become the focal point of the offense at striker. Through their eight fixtures, Montreal are...let’s say not very good offensively, as they average only nine shots per 90 mins with 2.9 on target. They’ve scored just 10 goals and lack a commanding presence in the middle — just 23 percent of their offense originates there. In a down season, Montreal will welcome Torres, who should see a spike in production that will more than likely make him Montreal’s best offensive weapon.
Chicago is another club who could use Torres’ services. Through seven matches, Chicago are seventh in the Eastern Conference (six teams qualify for the playoffs) and have scored 11 goals. The Fire register 10 shots per 90mins with 3.4 on target. Should he move there, Torres could become the deciding factor as to whether Chicago make the playoffs...although he may have to come off the bench.
Chicago’s current striker, Nemanja Nikolic, is off to a good start. The Hungarian has five goals in seven appearances, so as long as he’s on song, Torres may have to share striker duties there — much like he has at Atlético.
Regardless of where he goes next, Torres has plenty of football left to give in his career. The former Spain international has given Atlético many of his best years, scoring over 100 league goals and representing los colchoneros with the utmost professionalism on and off the pitch. There’s no question he can provide a North American club with...