Atletico Madrid are keen on re-uniting with Fernando Torres this summer as they step up plans to end his Chelsea misery, Goal understands.
The Spanish club have expressed an interest in re-signing their former striker, either on loan or a permanent deal in the summer.
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'El Nino' is something of a legend at Vicente Calderon having led the team when 'Colchoneros' were promoted to La Liga - and his return is by no means within the realms of impossibility.
Atletico are keen to sort out their financial situation first, but a top striker is high on their list of priorities this summer in the knowledge that current frontman Diego Costa will be the subject of much interest from elsewhere.
However, Diego Simeone's side would insist on a realistic transfer fee and wages - and with Torres no longer the star of Europe he once was thanks to his speed, dribbling and finishing, Atletico will not be stung on the price if negotiations proceed in the summer.
Torres, 29, is believed to have been offered, via third parties, to a number of clubs around Europe but he has two years remaining on a contract worth around £150,000-a-week and his salary demands represent a significant hurdle for many of his admirers.
Former club Atletico are closely monitoring Torres’ situation and are believed to be in pole position to take him back to the Vicente Calderon Stadium. There is also interest from Tottenham, Inter and Galatasaray.
Diego Simeone’s team face a battle to hang on to prolific spearhead Diego Costa, who has been targeted by a number of leading clubs including Chelsea, while fellow forward David Villa will have only a year remaining on his Atletico agreement at the end of the season.
Torres has had another mixed season at Chelsea, scoring only nine goals - just four of which have come in the Premier League - and Jose Mourinho has recently preferred to start with Samuel Eto’o in the marquee matches.
The player is believed to be keen to bring an end to what has been a troubled three-and-a-half year spell at Stamford Bridge and has frequently spoken of his desire to return to Atletico.
Torres established himself as one of the most sought-after strikers in the world during his six years at his hometown club after emerging from Atletico’s academy.
Atletico would not be able to afford Torres’ Chelsea salary but are said to be willing to explore a deal in which a portion of his wages are paid by the west Londoners, in either a loan or permanent deal.
Inter are also in the market for a new frontman and are monitoring Torres’ situation but, according to Italian sources, the Serie A club have baulked at his wages.
Tottenham made a loan move for the Spain international on deadline day last August but Chelsea refused to sell to their London rivals. Spurs remain keen on Torres and have asked to be kept informed about his situation.