Roberto Mancini revealed yesterday that he almost signed Fernando Torres for £50m from Liverpool in January 2011. What a lucky escape.
Back then he was one of the most feared strikers in football, scorer of Spain's only goal in the final of Euro 2008 and everyone, including Manchester City's manager, wanted to sign him.
He was the main man, a lethal finisher in a Liverpool shirt after he left Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007 for £20m. When Torres took a touch, opposition defenders were always in trouble. So what about yesterday, when he failed to make an impact in Rafa Benitez's first game in charge of Chelsea against the Barclays Premier League champions?
Witness, for example, his gutless performance at West Brom on November 17, when he was dragged off by Roberto Di Matteo after 62 minutes, or his appearance as a substitute for Chelsea, when they were taken apart by Juventus in Di Matteo's last game in charge of the club.
Against City, under the manager who signed him for Liverpool in 2007, he had just 27 touches of the ball. He managed just one shot on Joe Hart's goal, an embarrassing statistic for a player of his standing within the game. The top players turn it on every week, getting their teams out of trouble with a talismanic touch in front of goal.
In the past a glance at the top goalscorers list in England - let alone Europe - would always feature Torres. Now no-one is even certain whether his failure to be in the top 50 even bothers him as he gets used to life under his fourth Chelsea manager.
The last was against Norwich, in a routine victory at Stamford Bridge on October 6, and there is no telling when the next one might be.
It should hurt him to look at European football's top five scorers - Lionel Messi (19), Cristiano Ronaldo (12), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (12), Radamel Falcao (11) and Luis Suarez (10) - and convince him to do something about it.
He has tired his team-mates out at Chelsea, frequently telling them he made a mistake by signing for them in a £50m deal in January 2011. Back then he was the main man, forcing his way out of Anfield and regarded as the best in the business. The top teams have the top strikers, fighting each other to be out in front of the leading goalscorers list.
There were times at Liverpool when Torres was on it, scoring 24 times in the Barclays Premier League in his first season in English football. That summer he went on to score the winning goal for Spain in Euro 2008, latching on to Xavi Hernandez's pass and steering the ball beyond Germany keeper Jens Lehmann.
At Chelsea, as they attempted to solve his poor form, the coaching staff conducted a study of his 81 goals in a Liverpool shirt, and discovered that 56 of them (69%) had their origins in a through ball, usually from Gerrard or Alonso. Chelsea keep the ball in circulation, playing pinball around opponents before they apply the finishing touch. Against City they served up more of the same, failing to create the chances that he used to gobble up in a Liverpool shirt.
Benitez will persist with him against Fulham on Wednesday night, at a time when others would already be looking at other options. After 559 minutes without a goal in the Premier League, he's no longer the solution. Instead, Torres is part of Chelsea's problem.