x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Torres receptive to Chelsea but Liverpool stall sale

The Reds reject the Blues's reported £35 million bid for the striker who is reportedly unhappy with the squad composition and the addition of Saurez today is unlikely to help.

Torres has been a popular figure with Liverpool supporters, despite a poor start to a traumatic season for the club.
Torres has been a popular figure with Liverpool supporters, despite a poor start to a traumatic season for the club.

Fernando Torres is prepared to endure the wrath of Liverpool’s support by leaving Anfield for Chelsea this month.

The target of a £35 million (Dh203,662m) offer from the Premier League champions, Torres will encourage Liverpool’s  American owners to sanction the transfer.

New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the US consortium that purchased Liverpool in a court-enforced takeover last October, have stated that the Spain international is “not for sale” as they attempt their own rebuild of a squad considered too old and of insufficient quality to challenge for major titles.

Unfortunately for NESV, Torres agrees with that analysis, and has been unimpressed with their attempts to sign new players.

According to sources close to the player, Torres believes the squad is in immediate need of at least three high-quality additions. They made one yesterday by agreeing a deal worth up to £22.8m for Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan striker of Ajax. They will discuss personal terms today ahead of a medical.

With three days of the transfer window remaining, the 2010 Dutch Player of the Year will be a welcome recruit. Liverpool came up short in bids for Mark van Bommel, the Holland captain, who joined AC Milan instead, and Blackpool playmaker Charlie Adam.

Torres has been a popular figure with Liverpool supporters, despite a poor start to a traumatic season for the club.

His disenchantment with Roy Hodgson’s coaching methods reportedly contributed to his dismissal.  The former veteran English manager apparently told friends that he found it “difficult to get into the boy’s head”.

According to sources close to Torres, there is no buy-out clause on the 26-year-old’s contract, though they expect Chelsea to increase their bid to £40m, possibly offering Daniel Sturridge in part exchange. Chelsea, however, have a history of making eye-catching offers for elite players without ever completing the deals.

Moreover, their recent policy has been to trim their squad, selling or releasing five senior internationals last summer and cutting over £20m from their wage bill.

Yesterday the club sent formal notification to Benfica that they were withdrawing from negotiations to purchase David Luiz.

The Brazilian centre-back has received a work permit to play in the Premier League, but after more than a week of discussions, Chelsea refused to increase their offer beyond €25m (Dh125,132).

The Portuguese champions wanted €28m and for Chelsea to cover training compensation payments to Luiz’s former club, Vitoria (Bahia).

“Negotiations between Benfica and Chelsea FC, with a view to the possible transfer of David Luiz, were concluded today without the parties reaching an agreement,” said Benfica in a statement yesterday.

“Benfica is happy to keep a player with the quality and morality of David Luiz. Contrary to what some reports have suggested, David Luiz never tried to force a move, he is a model professional, and worthy of the shirt.”

Though his squad has been shown to be substandard by Chelsea’s worst sequence of results in a decade, Carlo Ancelotti, the manager, yesterday took a typically diplomatic line on the Torres move. “The club are trying to do everything they can to improve the squad,” Ancelotti said.

“I don’t want to speak about this [Torres], you will have to ask the club.

“He is not my player and I have to have respect for Liverpool. I’m not surprised, I know very well what the club is doing. I am happy because the club is doing a fantastic job in this transfer market.”