Monday, 31 January 2011

BBC Sport - Football - Liverpool non-committal over Fernando Torres transfer

BBC Sport - Football - Liverpool non-committal over Fernando Torres transfer

Liverpool non-committal over Fernando Torres transfer

Fernando Torres
Time is running out if Chelsea want to make an improved bid for the Spaniard

Kenny Dalglish refused to explain whether striker Fernando Torres would leave the club before the transfer window closes on Monday night.

The Reds rejected a £35m bid from Chelsea after a transfer request by the Spaniard was turned down on Friday.

"We've not brought anyone as a replacement for anyone else," Reds boss Dalglish revealed on Monday.

Meanwhile, BBC Sport understands that Liverpool have had a £30m bid rejected for Newcastle striker Andy Carroll.

The future of Torres remained uncertain with the transfer deadline ending at 2300 GMT on Monday, with BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan reporting over the weekend that Liverpool would be willing to offload the 26-year-old for £50m to Chelsea.

An Anfield source also stated that the club could be open to a deal of £40m in cash plus Blues forward Nicolas Anelka.

With Liverpool agreeing a £22.9m deal for Ajax forward Luis Suarez on Friday, along with the reported bid for Magpies forward Carroll, Dalglish said it did not mean Torres was headed for the exit.

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But the Scot reiterated his desire to work with players committed to the club.

"Movement is part and parcel of football but the most important people at Liverpool Football Club are the ones who want to be here," he added.

The Reds were angered by the timing of Torres' request last week and believe Chelsea "tapped up" the player by encouraging him to express a desire to leave.

Torres has a £50m release clause in his contract, but this only entitles him to leave if the Merseysiders fail to qualify for the Champions League this season - so even if Chelsea offer a package of that amount, Liverpool feel they can still force him to stay.

Dalglish and the club's owners see little point in forcing the striker to remain at Anfield against his will, but are determined to hold out for what they see as a more realistic bid - and what would be a British record transfer fee.

By submitting his transfer request at the very end of the window, Torres, signed from Atletico Madrid in 2007, has made it very difficult for his club to find a replacement.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is expected to submit an improved offer on Monday.

Torres v Carroll - head-to-head
Torres v Carroll - head-to-head stats from Opta

Despite reports, Liverpool are not interested in a deal involving 21-year-old Blues back-up striker Daniel Sturridge.

If Anelka is part of any package involving Torres being sold to Chelsea it would represent a return to Anfield for the 31-year-old French striker, who had a loan spell there in 2002.

Torres, who signed a six-year contract when he joined the Reds for £20m in 2007, has been linked with Chelsea before.

The west Londoners were reported to be interested in luring the Spaniard from Anfield in the summer of 2008 and made a bid in May 2010, but after helping Spain win the World Cup in June Torres pledged his future to Liverpool.

He said at the time: "My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed."

Torres notched three hat-tricks in his first season at Liverpool, scoring 33 goals in 46 appearances, and netted the winner as Spain beat Germany 1-0 to win the European Championship in 2008.

Hamstring injuries plagued him during the 2008-09 season but he still managed 17 goals in 38 games, while groin problems and knee surgery disrupted his 2009-10 campaign, although he still managed to find the net 22 times in 32 games.

Torres picked up a World Cup winners' medal with Spain but he failed to score during the finals in South Africa and pulled up with an abductor problem in the final, having come on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.

He has endured an indifferent 2010-11 season, scoring only nine goals in 26 games, and his transfer request came as Liverpool looked to have bolstered their attacking options by agreeing a £23m fee with Ajax for striker Luis Suarez.

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