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Chelsea Transfer News: What Demba Ba Move Means for Fernando Torres

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on December 23, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

Fernando Torres was given an opportunity to lock down the starting striker spot for Chelsea. After a strong start to the Premier League season with two goals in the first three matches, his lackluster form caused the Blues to look for help up front.

They have found it in the likes of Demba Ba. The striker is set to complete a move from Newcastle United after the Blues triggered the release clause in his contract earlier in the week, according to David Hytner of the Guardian.

Now comes the tough part for manager Rafael Benitez, whose club currently sits 14 points behind league-leading Manchester United with a match in hand. He has to figure out how to handle the striker situation with both Ba and Torres available.

The easy answer would be sending the 28-year-old Spain international to the bench. And, at least in the short-term, that's exactly what will likely happen.

The Blues wouldn't have made the move for Ba so quickly unless they truly believed he was capable of providing an immediate boost to the club. After scoring 13 goals in 20 games for the Magpies, including two in his last appearance, Ba's numbers back up that belief.

An extended run as the main option up front is the right move to make. Give Ba the same chance to secure the job that Torres was given to begin the campaign.

That said, it's hard to imagine exiling Torres to the bench and leaving him there. Even though he's experienced wild swings in productivity since joining the Blues, he still has enough talent to help the club in the season's second half.

The idea of playing Ba and Torres at the same time is intriguing, but implementing it without suffering a letdown defensively would be difficult. One of them would likely be forced to play at the expense of a defensive midfielder since it would be tough to remove a playmaker like Juan Mata or Eden Hazard.

Furthermore, Ba and Torres are better suited to serve as a sole striker. Having to play through each other would be a challenge, probably making the entire idea better in theory than in reality.

Benitez will have to pick his spots to get Torres some starts. There will be some backlash, especially if Ba arrives to Stamford Bridge in good form. But the Blues can't afford for Torres to rot on the sideline until the season ends.

Chelsea fans have rightfully grown frustrated with Torres' up-and-down form, which means Benitez can expect a lot of negative feedback if he starts the striker and he doesn't produce. He still needs to find a way to work him in, though.

One way or another, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out as the Blues attempt to get back in the title chase before it's too late.


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