• £50m signing has fallen down Stamford Bridge pecking order
• Inter move could hinge on Europa League qualification
The overhaul of Chelsea's strike-force this summer could yet include the departure of the club's record signing, Fernando Torres, to Internazionale after the Italians reiterated their interest in the Spain forward.
Torres, a £50m arrival from Liverpool a little over three years ago, has claimed a European Cup and Europa League while with Chelsea and could yet add a further Champions League to his haul of honours with a meeting with another of his former clubs, Atlético Madrid, awaiting in the semi-finals. Yet his impact at Stamford Bridge has been inconsistent, and arguably blighted by untimely injuries and suspensions this season, to leave him currently behind Samuel Eto'o and even, at present, Demba Ba in the pecking order.
José Mourinho suggested last week that the 30-year-old World Cup winner still had a role to play at the club, with two years still to run on his contract. But Chelsea intend to instigate a radical revamp of their forward line next term – the Atlético striker Diego Costa will be pursued, and could potentially be joined by another high-profile arrival – with Eto'o expected to depart under freedom of contract, Ba effectively made available and Inter's interest in Torres likely to be explored.
It remains to be seen whether the Serie A club would be willing to match Torres' hefty wage package of around £160,000-a-week, or indeed if the player would be keen on moving to San Siro, but Inter have confirmed the Spaniard is an option they may pursue. The club's general manager, Marco Fassone, was interviewed on Italian radio and asked specifically about Torres. "He is one of the names that interests us, and even [club] president [Erick] Thohir has not made a mystery of the fact that they interest us," said Fassone. "Who will be the right candidate in the end has yet to be defined."
Much may depend upon Inter's ability to qualify for the Europa League this season having missed out on European football altogether this term, with the Italians currently fifth in Serie A with five games to play. That position would merit a place in Uefa's secondary competition. "It's obvious that in the last few months, our club president has requested as an aim to return to Europe," added Fassone. "It would be problematic not to qualify for continental competition for a second straight year, not just for the work we are doing but also from a financial standpoint."