News broke this morning that Fernando Torres will leave Atletico Madrid when his contract expires in June. The 34-year-old striker will likely leave Europe this summer after a decorated career that saw him win a World Cup and a UEFA Champions League Final. He will leave Atletico as their fifth all-time scorer.
Not long after the announcement, the natural murmurings connecting El Nino to MLS came about. This is hardly surprising considering MLS teams have often been willing to take a flyer on a former superstar. As such, we decided to pick five teams to help Fernando make the decision a bit easier for him. These are teams that either need a striker, need a splash signing, or both!
Not the start that the Sounders expected to have, surely. Seattle is the only team in MLS that hasn’t registered a single point, or even a goal. Seattle’s season started behind the eight ball when Jordan Morris tore his ACL in the CONCACAF Champions League match against Santa Tecla.
Signing a 34-year-old striker doesn’t necessarily line up with Garth Lagerwey’s transfer strategy, but the situation they find themselves in might warrant an unorthodox approach. Seattle probably still see Jordan Morris as their striker long term and a 12-18 month contract gives them some breathing room while he recuperates from his torn ACL. As with most things, this would almost certainly depend on what sort of contract Torres is asking for. A multiyear DP deal would hardly make sense for Seattle, but if they could get Torres on similar terms to how LA got Zlatan this could actually work.
We’ve prepared for what seems like a decade for a new era in D.C., and it might finally be upon us. D.C. United will finally have their new stadium this summer, and the excuses for not spending big are running out. D.C. also have a need up front. Could Torres usher in the new era for DCU? It makes sense. D.C. has previously been linked with “aging” stars in the last few years with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Gary Medel. If D.C. United are serious about opening their new stadium with a bang, it’d make sense for them to bring in Torres.
Sporting Kansas City
SKC currently sit in first place in the West and have the second most goals scored in all of MLS. But, it wasn’t too long ago that there was speculation that they might struggle in front of goal. Fernando Torres might be the piece to take SKC to an elite tier of MLS team this season. Torres isn’t the striker he once was, but SKC have a team where he can fit in nicely. With creative wingers and a solid midfield, Torres can focus on doing what he does best: scoring goals.
In 2015, the Impact brought in another former Chelsea striker who was a bit past his prime in Didier Drogba. While his minutes were spotty, he showed to be a very capable contributor when playing, and his influence brought them within a few goals of an MLS Cup final. Montreal have only played five games, but have already shown signs of another up and down year. Their best XI doesn’t have a striker in it, and relies far too heavily on young DP Jeisson Vargas and Nacho Piatti. Right now, Montreal are playing Jeisson Vargas up top, but otherwise they’re relying on a 33-year-old Matteo Mancosu. Surely a 34-year-old Torres would be an upgrade to Mancosu and could get Vargas back to his more natural position on the wing.
Los Angeles Football Club
They’re nothing if not exciting, aren’t they? LAFC have started their inaugural season with a bang—on both ends of the field. Look, their attack is solid and a striker probably isn’t on the top of the needs list (unless Torres can play left back or defensive midfield), but bringing in Torres might be too good of an opportunity to pass up. Whether any of us like it or not, LAFC and the LA Galaxy may operate on an axis until the end of time. The Galaxy have Zlatan and have managed to grapple the headlines back into their favor. Torres doesn’t bring the same notoriety that Zlatan does, obviously, but he is a big enough name (and a good enough player!) to respond to ZlatanMania. The days of MLS when the LA rivalry was Chivas USA vs the Galaxy are long since gone, but now that our new El Traffico overlords are here, we might as well embrace it.