Fernando Torres has been one of the most expensive football flops in history, yet Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is happy that they are about to sign him.
Torres was signed by Chelsea for $70 million four years ago from Liverpool but never achieved the brilliance he showed at Anfield partly because of debilitating long-term injuries.
He scored only 20 times in 110 appearances for the Blues. Even Blues boss Jose Mourinho could not get the best out of him.
The Spain international was finally sent to AC Milan on loan in the summer, and even though he was a disappointment there too, Simeone is delighted that he is about to sign at Atletico.
Reports are that Manchester City and Liverpool had both lined up Simeone as their potential saviour if their seasons turned sour and they had to sack their managers, Manuel Pellegrini and Brendan Rodgers, respectively.
But after an indifferent start to the season, Pellegrini’s position is no longer under threat, and City will wait until the summer to review his position.
But Simeone has had a change of heart – and it is partly down to the imminent arrival of Torres.
Simeone steered Atletico to the La Ligue title last season, breaking the dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Argentine even explored the possibility of breaking his contract from Atletico to move to the Premier League and has been taking English lessons. Atletico reached the Champions League final too, but lost 4-1 to Real.
Simeone has so much faith in Torres that he wanted to sign him in the summer and was disappointed that he went to AC Milan. He believes Torres, 30, could adequately replace Diego Costa who moved to Chelsea and has been sensational so far there.
Atletico now have an agreement to take Torres on a long-term loan when his move to Milan becomes permanent next month.
Simeone is convinced he can restore Torres to past brilliance where so many others have failed.
He has also been promised funds for more signings as Atletico – who are four points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid – and is seeking to build on last season’s unlikely title win.