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Football: Torres set to join AC Milan on loan

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is set to end his miserable spell at Stamford Bridge by joining AC Milan on loan for the next two seasons.

LONDON: Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is set to end his miserable spell at Stamford Bridge by joining AC Milan on loan for the next two seasons.

Torres has endured a difficult time with the Blues since his then-British record £50 million (63 million euros, US$82.9 million, S$103.5 million) move from Liverpool in January 2011. The 30-year-old Spain international was unable to repeat his prolific Liverpool form in west London and has scored just 45 goals in 172 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea.

He was believed to be Blues boss Jose Mourinho's third-choice striker behind new signings Diego Costa and Didier Drogba this season, and that drop down the pecking order - he had yet to make it onto the pitch this season - persuaded him to consider Milan's offer.

"Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan have agreed terms for the two-year loan deal of Fernando Torresto the Italian club," a statement on Chelsea's website announced.

"The move is now subject to Fernando agreeing personal terms with AC Milan and passing a medical examination."

Milan made their move for the former Atletico Madrid star after selling Mario Balotelli to Liverpool earlier this week.

Assuming Torres completes the move, he will surely go down as one of the biggest flops in Premier League history, given the size of both his reputation and the transfer and wages required to lure him from Anfield. His memorable moments for Chelsea - scoring a key goal in the 2012 Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona and finally breaking his duck for the club against West Ham after 14 appearances - were few and far between.

Instead, he will be remembered for lacklustre displays and a litany of shocking misses, including somehow blazing over an open goal in a defeat at Manchester United in 2011.

Only the likes of Andy Carroll, a £35 million failure at Liverpool, and Andriy Shevchenko, a £30 million misfit at Chelsea, have fared as badly as Torres in the Premier League era.

Torres has two years remaining on his £150,000-a-week Chelsea contract, meaning he is unlikely to play for the Blues again because he would be a free agent by the time his spell at the San Siro is over.

SHADOW OF A PLAYER

His move to Italy will bring the curtain down on a disastrous stint with Chelsea, in which he was a bit-part player as the club won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup.

Torres was a shadow of the player who terrorised defences across Europe in a Liverpool shirt and the raw statistics tell the full story of his Chelsea nightmare. He averaged one goal every 3.8 matches for the Blues, compared to one every 1.8 matches in his four years with Liverpool, while each goal effectively cost Chelsea £1.1 million.

Just hours earlier on Friday, Mourinho had claimed Chelsea couldn't afford to lose Torres because it would leave them short of options in the attacking department. His apparent change of heart means Torres will need to be replaced, with a move for Roma's Italian striker Mattia Destro a possibility before the transfer window closes on Monday.

Mourinho did admit he could understand if Torres, dropped by Spain for their forthcoming matches against France and Macedonia, wanted to leave given the criticism he has suffered at Chelsea.

"If he wants to leave, in the case he wants to, it's because he wants to try a new life, a new club, probably a new league," Mourinho said.

"So if he wants to leave, which until this moment I have not one single word about, I believe that is to try to be happier than he was in the last couple of years.

"This is a very human club in the way the club approaches this kind of situation.

"If he comes to us in these last couple of days, any possibility would be analysed by us as a club and the best decision for him."

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