Chelsea: Alvaro Morata is the Fernando Torres the Blues thought they signed in 2011
Alvaro Morata has already gone some way to proving his doubters wrong as he continues to repay his £70 million fee in the form of goals and eye-catching performances. Customers with Chelsea tickets have been impressed by how quickly the Spaniard has settled into life in London and they finally appear to have a number nine they have been craving for years.
Fernando Torres was the club’s previous number nine who also arrived for a club record fee in January 2011 when he signed from Liverpool. However, the Spamiard didn’t quite replicate his Merseyside form or £50 million price tag during his time at Stamford Bridge. Despite this, Torres continues to be something of a cult hero with the Blues after helping the club clinch a wealth of trophies, including the Champions League, Europa League and Premier League title.
When Chelsea announced the signing of Alvaro Morata there was a genuine excitement among most fans - Likewise with Torres. The club were bringing in a different type of striker as Conte added the final touches to his side. Chelsea had been pursuing a physical striker in the shape of Romelu Lukaku all summer, but Morata provided a more than adequate solution - despite seemingly looking certain to join Manchester United. Instead Morata ended up swapping the Bernabeu for Chelsea with Lukaku opting for Old Trafford.
Morata and Torres are two players who appear cut from the same cloth with similar playing styles and physical build - not to mention the fact they are both Spanish, same shirt number with uncanny goal celebrations. So far, Morata’s linkup play has been excellent and he suits Conte’s style perfectly having been made familiar during his time at Juventus. As a result, Morata has taken to the Premier League seamlessly. This is perhaps where Torres failed as he struggled to shake of the burden of a British transfer record £50 million fee hanging over his head plus the mental strength to succeed after what was a troubled start to his Blues career, which ultimately affected his confidence.
Meanwhile, Morata has hit the ground running unlike his Spanish counterpart six years ago. Torres believes Chelsea have signed one of the world’s best strikers in the shape of Morata. The Spain international was tasked with replacing Diego Costa following his arrival from Real Madrid and Torres said: “I spoke with him (Morata) before he joined Chelsea and told him I would be always on the phone if he needed any advice or if I could help him,’ said Torres.
‘Looking at the start he has made it doesn’t look like he needs any advice at all – already he is playing well and scoring goals. Chelsea have one of the best strikers in Europe – and I am sure he is going to win trophies with them.’
Torres made more appearances for Chelsea than he did while at Anfield yet his time on Merseyside will always be deemed more fruitful despite never winning a trophy there. He wore a blue shirt 172 times and a red one just 142. At Liverpool his goal ratio was better, but his time in London produced more assists. His goal-plus-assist total for Chelsea was 88, at Liverpool it was 101.
Sky Sports pundit Carragher has also compared the two former Blues. Following Morata's brace against Stoke City to notch his fifth and sixth goals of the season in the Premier League, Carragher said: “He reminded me of Torres, similar sort of build to Torres, that sort of pace, bursting past people. “When I see a goal like that from a striker, you automatically think that is top class.”
Frank Lampard also told the Evening Standard: “I watched him from afar when he was at Real Madrid and Juventus and I think he is the complete striker. Technically Alvaro is fantastic, as is his movement.”
The Spanish international has already equaled the total number of league goals scored by Torres in his first full season with Chelsea and he appears to be far from finished. Will he be able to fill the boots of Diego Costa? The question of who between Chelsea or Manchester United got the better deal won’t go away before the end of the season, but the early signs show that he is going to be a success and the striker the fans had hoped for in Torres.
Morata will be looking to surpass the achievements of the previous Chelsea number nines that have gone before him and if he continues his rich vein of goalscoring form there is nothing that will stop him from becoming a Blues favourite at The Bridge for many years to come.