The Fernando Torres-Alessio Cerci Swap: A Deal With No Victor

Last January, Milan and Atletico Madrid agreed to swap excess baggage in the form of an 18-month loan. Alessio Cerci returned back to the comforts of Italy, while Fernando Torres was welcomed home back to his boyhood club. It looked all peachy on paper, right?

Cerci, who was quite literally a non-factor for Diego Simeone’s side, was set free back to Italy with the rossoneri last winter. The Italian international, who made a €15m move to Spain after a superb 2013-14 season with il toro, failed to provide anything of value to the rojiblancos. He managed to score just one goal while featuring just 9 times for the 2013-14 Champions League runner-ups, thus leading to short-lived spell in La Liga. As for Fernando Torres? Well, we all know how that worked out.

Once a top ten striker in the world, “El Niño” was finally relinquished from Chelsea after failing miserably to live up to the €58m transfer from Liverpool back in January of 2011. After offloading Mario Balotelli to Merseyside in the summer of 2014, Milan was in need of a striker. Of course, one arrived via a loan deal-shockingly not a free transfer- as the English club agreed to send him on loan for two years to the Italian giant. Despite a move and fresh start away from the hallows of Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard could not escape his woes as he managed to score just one goal in 10 Serie A matches, leaving Pippo Inzaghi scrambling for support.With Atletico Madrid in need of attacking reinforcement and Milan much the same, both clubs came together to make the Torres for Cerci swap deal work.

Here is a comparison between Torres and Cerci after their January moves using the Squawka Comparison Matrix:

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 12.30.29 PM

Despite playing in different roles within the attack, the best statistical categories to compare the two are highlighted above. Torres had a better goal scoring rate per 90 but in comparison to Cerci, it was very miniscule. Based off the other statistics, it’s clear that while not being a major contributor for Milan, Cerci was in fact more influential on his team as indicated with his metric for both successful take ons (1.98/90min) and chances created (2.64/90min). He plays out on the wing and quietly wasn’t too bad under Pippo Inzaghi.

This season, both the former Liverpool number 9 and the ex-Fiorentina attacker have found it difficult to impact their side. Torres has featured in 16 La Liga matches for Atletico Madrid this season, but only scored 2 goals. It has taken him nearly 379 minutes to score each goal, via transfermarkt. Simeone has used him mostly in a bench role due Antoine Griezmann being the focal point. But despite not scoring much, Torres has actually played more minutes than summer haul Jackson Martinez who nearly made the move to the San Siro. As for Cerci, he’s been highly inconsistent all season long under new leader Siniša Mihajlović. The speedy winger has not bagged a single goal in 15 matches across all competitions for Milan. Simply unacceptable.

Once again, compare the seasons thus far for both Torres and Cerci using the same stats:

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.20.31 AM

Cerci had sprinkled in some fairly decent performances, but he’s looked very predictable, often telegraphic in his initial move upon receiving the ball in the final third. When he has been granted an opportunity to score, he’d spoil it.

When you factor in the opportunities that Cerci has been given all season long-with little to no success-it’s obvious that he needed to depart. Genoa have taken him in on a temporary loan for the remainder of the season, but keep in mind he does have another year left on his contract with Atletico Madrid, lasting until June 30th, 2017, while Torres’ expires with Milan this summer.

It will be interesting to see where these two wind up. Torres appears keen to keep his existing relationship with Simeone and Atletico Madrid but his agent has publicly stated that his client has several offers on the table that would make him the highest paid player in the world. As for Cerci, it’s unclear at this point. You can say with near certainty that he will never put on the red and white kit of Atleti ever again, making a longterm stay in Italy the likely choice.

The Fernando Torres for Alessio Cerci swap had Milanisti fans upbeat. It seemed as if once again, Galliani had pulled off another steal getting the once dangerous toro playmaker at an incremental cost, however that was not the case.


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