Saturday, 29 January 2011

BBC Sport - Football - Liverpool reject Fernando Torres transfer request

BBC Sport - Football - Liverpool reject Fernando Torres transfer request

Liverpool reject Fernando Torres transfer request

Fernando Torres
Torres has scored three goals in his last four games for Liverpool

Liverpool are bracing themselves for a new bid for Fernando Torres from Chelsea after rejecting a transfer request from the Spanish striker.

The Anfield club have already turned down a bid from Chelsea - thought to be about £35m-40m - for the 26-year-old.

"He's under a long-term contract. We expect him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool and its fans when he signed," said the Reds in a statement.

"He has submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected."

Torres, who joined Liverpool in 2007, has been linked with Chelsea before.

The Blues were reported to be interested in luring the Spaniard from Anfield in the summer of 2008 and made a bid in May of last year.

However, on 3 August 2010, Torres pledged his loyalty to Liverpool after helping Spain win the World Cup in South Africa.

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 joined the Reds in July 2007, signing a six-year contract after completing a £20m switch from Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

He scored three hat-tricks in his first season on Merseyside, scoring 33 goals in 46 appearances and netted the winner as Spain beat Germany 1-0 to win the European Championship in 2008.

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Hamstring injuries plagued the following 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 season on Merseyside, scoring just nine goals in 26 games and handed in a written transfer request on Friday despite Liverpool looking to have bolstered their attacking options by agreeing a £23m fee with Ajax for their striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan, who has yet to agree personal terms or pass a medical, has scored 111 goals in 159 appearances for the Dutch side and his protracted transfer was expected to provide support up front for Torres rather than replacing him.

Although he scored twice in the Reds' 2-0 win over Chelsea in November, Torres looked a forlorn figure under previous Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson.

However, he has looked revitalised under new boss Kenny Dalglish, scoring three goals in his last four games.

Liverpool moved up to seventh in the Premier League table following their 1-0 victory over Fulham on Wednesday, but they still face a fight to qualify for the Champions League next season, with Chelsea nine points ahead of them in fourth spot.

The Reds are not in action this weekend, having been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Manchester United, and Dalglish is not scheduled to speak to the media until Monday - transfer deadline day - when he holds a planned press conference ahead of Wednesday's home Premier League game against Stoke.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti refused to talk about Torres, preferring to focus on the Blues' FA Cup fourth round tie at Everton on Saturday, but said he is happy that "the club are trying to do everything they can to improve the squad".

With the transfer window open until 2300 GMT on Monday, there is still time for the Blues to increase their offer for should they wish.

Ancelotti said: "I don't want to speak about this, you will have to ask the club. He is not my player and I have to have respect for Liverpool.

"I'm not surprised, because I know very well what the club is doing now. I am happy because the club is doing a fantastic job in this transfer market."

Although Ancelotti's team have failed to fully replicate their form of last term where they won the Premier League title, they are still in the Champions League and are 10 points behind league leaders Manchester United.

Ancelotti has previously hinted that he wanted to bring in new players to bolster an ageing squad stretched by injuries this season.

And with the club close to signing Benfica defender David Luiz, the bid for Torres shows that Chelsea are still prepared to use their financial muscle to boost their domestic and European ambitions.

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