Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed that Reds players were “astonished” when Chelsea agreed to pay £50 million for Fernando Torres in 2011.
The Stamford Bridge outfit paid a then-Premier League record fee to sign the Spain international seven years ago, only for Torres to struggle to justify such an outlay.
In total, he scored just 20 goals for the Blues in 110 appearances despite being one of Europe’s most potent goalscorers during his time at both Atletico Madrid and Liverpool previously.
But Carragher has now admitted that the signs of his decline had been there for some time before his move to west London, leading to shock in the Anfield dressing room when they learned of his transfer.
“I witnessed this with Torres, a player who rose to world-class status but then lost his explosive pace and could never get it back,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.
“When Chelsea bid £50m for Torres in January 2011 there was consternation among Liverpool supporters.
“Although we could never state it publicly at the time, there was general astonishment in our dressing room. We thought Chelsea had not been watching him for the previous 12 months.
“We knew Chelsea did not sign the player they thought. They bought a striker who – aged 26 – had already played 468 games, had not had a summer off for the previous three years and was constantly trying to repair his body.
“Torres started to have a hamstring problem during the 2008-09 season, and also suffered an ankle injury the year we finished runners-up to Manchester United. The following season – Rafa Benitez’s last as Liverpool manager – he had a groin and knee issue and was a shadow of himself, despite still regularly scoring goals.
“Beyond Merseyside no-one seemed to notice, attributing poor displays to a struggling team. In training we could see there was more to it.”
Torres is now plying his trade in Japan with Sagan Tosu following a move to AC Milan and a second spell at Atletico as he winds down his illustrious career that saw him win the World Cup, two European Championships, the Champions League and two Europa Leagues.