Newcastle open to Fernando Torres move, but a transfer won’t be “easy” – Rafa Benitez

Newcastle open to Fernando Torres move, but a transfer won’t be “easy” – Rafa Benitez

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is interested in signing Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid, but admitted a reunion with his fellow Spaniard is unlikely.

Sunday night’s match against Eibar will be the 34-year-old’s last for Diego Simeone’s side, with Los Rojiblancos having secured second place in La Liga in their debut campaign at the Wanda Metropolitano and won their third Europa League crown in nine seasons.

Torres is not quite the player he was during his first spell at Atletico, where, after netting 82 league goals in 214 appearances, he moved to Liverpool in 2007 for around £20 million to join forces with Benitez.

Nevertheless, the current Newcastle boss has still expressed admiration for his former charge, whose Atletico contract is up this summer.

“I think it will be harder for him to come here, not because we don’t want to,” the two-time La Liga winner admitted to Marca.

“I don’t know what’s going on in his head, but maybe he is thinking about something else.

“It would be appealing, but I don’t think it would be easy.”

Torres became a fans’ favourite at Anfield, twice achieving 20-goal seasons before opting for a move south to Chelsea in January 2011, where he endured a difficult three-and-a-half years.

Part of his unhappy spell at Stamford Bridge was under Benitez, who proved an unpopular caretaker boss despite guiding the Blues to their first Europa League trophy.

“In Liverpool, he was sensational,” he continued.

“Then he went to Chelsea and, although he had a bad time when he arrived, he was essential for us in winning the Europa League.”

Torres became an instant hit at Anfield after signing for Benitez in 2007

Despite his long-standing association with the club, Torres had not won a trophy with Atletico until last Wednesday, when they defeated Marseille 3-0 to claim the Europa League title.

After winning the Championship under Benitez in 2016/17, Newcastle enjoyed a solid first season back in the top flight, with Ayoze Perez netting eight league goals to finish top scorer as the Magpies finished tenth.