Liverpool set to hold out for £50m in Torres deal
Chelsea will return with an improved offer to sign Fernando Torres before the transfer window closes tomorrow night but even that may still not be enough to tempt Liverpool to grant the Spain international the move he craves.
The Stamford Bridge club are thought to have had two offers rejected by the Anfield side already this month, with a bid of £28m turned down last week and a second attempt, worth £35m, refused on Thursday.
In response, Torres submitted a formal transfer request on Friday evening. That request was immediately rejected by Liverpool. Their third bid, though, is still likely to fall short of the £50m release clause in the 26-year-old's contract. That clause, inserted by Liverpool's previous regime, is seen by Chelsea as a visible deterrent, rather than an asking price.
Liverpool, on the other hand, view that figure as the absolute minimum for any serious offers, despite Torres's attempts to force a move through.
The club remain adamant the player is not for sale at any price, but the Anfield side's parent company, Fenway Sports Group, would countenance his departure if Chelsea produced a sufficiently inflated offer. That raises the possibility of Torres, who is due to return to training today after three days off, still being a Liverpool player when Kenny Dalglish's side travel to Chelsea for their Premier League clash in seven days' time.
Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's owner, is expected to try to bridge the gap in valuations by offering Liverpool a part-exchange deal. It had been suggested the Anfield side would accept Daniel Sturridge, the reserve striker, in a player-plus-cash offer, but such reports are wide of the mark.
Liverpool will only entertain pure cash bids unless a first-team player -- such as Nicolas Anelka -- is included as a sweetener.
The Frenchman -- who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Anfield in 2002 -- would at least solve the most obvious practical problem selling Torres would entail: Liverpool would have no striker, beyond the 21-year-old David Ngog, for the Europa League campaign which represents Dalglish's only hope of silverware in his second spell at the club.
Luis Suarez, the £22.8m signing from Ajax, was last night on the verge of finalising his move to Anfield after undergoing a medical and discussing personal terms. The 24 year-old, who is ineligible for the European competition, arrived on Merseyside yesterday, describing himself as "crazily happy" that the deal had been completed.
Sunday Indo Sport