CHELSEA striker Fernando Torres will undergo a medical at AC Milan on Saturday after the clubs agreed a two-year loan deal, with Loic Remy and Mattia Destro among the names being touted as possible replacements.
Much was expected from Torres when he arrived from Liverpool in January 2011 for what was a British-record deal.
However, the 30-year-old fell well short of living up to his £50million price tag and, after a frustrating three and a half years at Stamford Bridge, appears to have played his last match for the club.
On Friday evening - just hours after manager Jose Mourinho downplayed speculation he would leave - Chelsea confirmed that the Spain striker would be joining Milan on loan until the expiration of his contract in 2016, subject to a medical.
“Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan have agreed terms for the two-year loan deal of Fernando Torres to the Italian club,” read a statement on the club’s official website, www.chelseafc.com.
“The move is now subject to Fernando agreeing personal terms with AC Milan and passing a medical examination.”
Press Association Sport understands Chelsea will not be picking up any of Torres’ wages during his loan spell.
Although the Spain international only showed glimpses of his ability during his time in west London, Mourinho spoke highly of him as a player and a person on Friday afternoon.
At a press conference previewing Saturday’s trip to Everton, the Portuguese said the “situation hasn’t arisen yet” and was not one they were planning for, given he felt they need three strikers to fight on all fronts this season - admitting the Blues would be in trouble if Torres departed given no Plan B is in place.
“Well, if that happens in the last hour of the market, we are in trouble,” said Mourinho.
“We are not prepared. It’s something new. We have our ideas, we have our contacts.
“Obviously we have to react if that situation happens. The market for us is closed. But because the market is ‘open’, it’s never completely closed.
“I’ve believed for a long time that the squad is closed. We have our squad. We like our squad. It’s not the perfect one, because no squad is perfect, but it’s one we like.”
Torres became the butt of many a joke during his time at Stamford Bridge but it was not without its successes, given he won the Champions League, Europa League and an FA Cup.
Reports on Friday evening suggested the Blues were to open talks with QPR striker Remy to fill the Torres void, while it has also been widely speculated that Roma forward Destro was being lined up.
The Italy international’s burgeoning reputation has grown in the Eternal City and he is a player Mourinho knows well from his time at the Inter Milan helm.
The Blues boss refused to speak outright about any interest in Destro at his Friday press conference, but admitted any replacement for Torres would almost certainly be foreign.
“If we have to react to Fernando’s departure, we’ll react by buying a foreign striker because I don’t see an English striker in the market that would come to us, or where his club would let him come to us,” he said.
“If we lose a foreign striker, we need another foreign striker.”