Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fernando Torres Demands To Leave Liverpool Despite Luis Suárez Arrival

Chelsea will return with an improved £40m offer for Fernando Torres with the Premier League champions hopeful of closing the deal before Monday's deadline after the striker last night confirmed his desire to quit Liverpool by submitting a transfer request.

Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, is prepared to add the young striker Daniel Sturridge as a makeweight in the new bid, which will follow the £35m that was rejected by Liverpool yesterday. Chelsea intend to push hard for what would be a stunning coup and have been encouraged both by Torres's actions – although Liverpool have rejected his transfer request – and by his employers agreeing a £22.8m deal with Ajax for Luis Suárez this afternoon.

The Suárez fee, which will place him second to Torres as the most expensive signing in Liverpool's history, represents a £10m increase on the offer that Ajax rejected earlier this week.

Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's owners, hope the signing of the Uruguay international, who has still to complete a medical and agree personal terms, will convince Torres of their ambitions and they remain adamant that their leading goalscorer is not for sale. Liverpool said in a statement last night: "Fernando Torres tonight submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected by Liverpool. Fernando is under long-term contract and the club expects him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement."

However, the 26-year-old has reached the point where he believes a departure from Anfield is the right move for his career and does not want to miss a second opportunity to join Chelsea. He has urged FSG to broker an agreement that is good for both himself and the club.

Chelsea's move carries an opportunistic edge. They tried to sign Torres last summer, only for Liverpool to put a prohibitive price tag on him. Chelsea were mindful that Manchester City were also after the Spaniard. Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, was not prepared to enter into an auction. That remains the case.

But with City having signed Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg for £27m earlier in the month, Chelsea feel they might have a clear shot at Torres now. Hence their determination to get him during this transfer window rather than wait until the summer, when City and others might re-enter the bidding. A footnote to the intrigue is that, if Torres does sign for Chelsea, his debut could be against Liverpool, who play at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday week.

"Every time, when there is a possibility to find a better player for this club, we will try," Ancelotti said. "I don't need to explain when we move. When we try to do something, we speak together and make the decision. I knew about the bid. I'm not surprised because I know what the club is doing. The club is doing a fantastic job in this transfer market. It is trying to do everything to improve the squad."

Another factor in Chelsea's late move for the Spain international is the £50m release clause he was granted by Liverpool last summer. Sources close to Torres have denied such a clause exists and, in this transfer window, that is correct. It is understood the clause comes into effect this summer, providing Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Kenny Dalglish's side are currently nine points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, having played one game more, and any suitor would have to pay £50m to release Torres from a £110,000-a-week contract that runs until 2013 should they remain outside the top four.

Torres sought assurances last summer, when he knew Chelsea and City were circling, that he could leave in the event of another disappointing season. Those discussions were held with the then managing director, Christian Purslow, who has now left the club, and ultimately led to the striker's pledging his loyalty to Liverpool.

Torres, the former Atlético Madrid captain, also wanted assurances over the future of the club and what funds were available for rebuilding the squad when Liverpool were bought by the new owners. His camp believes that promises have been broken.

Liverpool are not the club that Torres joined in 2007. The striker is pessimistic over the future and his patience has worn thin. Roy Hodgson's departure and the appointment of Dalglish as manager, though steps in the right direction, are evidently not enough to ease Torres's misgivings.

Despite the recognition that Liverpool could block the move Torres believes an immediate departure is the best solution. If he were to join Chelsea, he would be eligible to play in the Champions League. He is hopeful of Liverpool recognising that his departure could be good for all concerned. Liverpool signed him for £23m; with a little bartering they could make more than £20m profit by selling now.

Chelsea To Come At Liverpool With £60m Bid For Fernando Torres

Chelsea looks set to improve on their bid for Liverpool's Fernando Torres with a sum of £60 million, according to The Mirror.

The record-breaking bid comes after the Spanish striker told his current team that he wants to leave via a written transfer request.

His representatives have also apparently written to the club's new American owners stating all the reasons why the player should be allowed to leave, including the fact that the forward has been let down over promises made last summer to keep him at the club after Rafa Benitez's departure.

The West London club is also prepared to throw in young striker Daniel Sturridge, a player Liverpool wanted to take on loan earlier this season, and the Reds look to have an offer they can't refuse.

Any completed deal will probably see Torres become Chelsea's highest ever earner, but the negotiations will need to gather momentum quickly given that there are only three days left for such a big transfer to go through before deadline.

Niang Admits Liverpool Lure

Mamadou Niang admits he is flattered by links with Liverpool, amid strong speculation the Reds are preparing to swoop for the Fenerbahce attacker.

The 31-year-old Senegal international has been in fine form for Fener this season, scoring nine league goals in 15 matches, and various reports in Africa suggest Kenny Dalglish has made him a transfer target.

Niang, formerly of Troyes, Strasbourg and Marseille, says it would be a privilege to play for Liverpool but claims he is still bound to his current club.

"It is flattering to hear the interest of Liverpool, they are a fantastic club with a rich tradition, one of the most amazing clubs in the world," he said.

"We all know the anthem of the Kop, it would be fantastic, but I have a contract here and it depends a lot on the club here in Turkey.

"But it would be a great opportunity at my age to play for a very very big club."

Niang, who can play as either as a striker, support striker or winger, moved to Fenerbahce for €8million (£6.9m) in August from Marseille.

Liverpool is trying to strengthen their squad for the second half of the campaign and have recently rejected a big-money offer from Chelsea for Fernando Torres.

Blackpool Reject Improved Bid For Charlie Adam

Liverpool have apparently sent an improved bid to Blackpool for star player Charlie Adam, which has been rejected by the Seasiders, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The bid is thought to have been considerably more than the initial £4 million.

Adam handed in a transfer request last week, but it was refused and Blackpool boss Ian Holloway will only seriously listen to offers over £10m for the Scotsman.

Hammers End Cole Chase

West Ham co-owner David Gold believes an attempt to bring Joe Cole back to Upton Park has 'run its course'.

The club's manager, Avram Grant, admitted last week that he would welcome a reunion with the Liverpool playmaker, who he worked with at former club Chelsea.

It has also been reported that Cole would be interested in a return to West Ham, where he began his career, having struggled since a Bosman move to Anfield in June.

But ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest, Gold does not think that it will be possible to agree a deal for the 29-year-old.

Gold told Sky Sports News regarding interest in Cole: "We don't leave any stone unturned. But I would discount that now. I think that has run its course."

West Ham completed the drawn-out signing of Senegal international Demba Ba from Hoffenheim on Friday to add to the January arrivals of Gary O'Neil and loanee Wayne Bridge.

However, amid reported interest in Brazil international Ewerthon, Gold has not ruled out further signings before Monday's transfer deadline.

He said: "We still have one or two other irons in the fire."

Liverpool Reject Bid From Chelsea For Fernando Torres

Liverpool have revealed they have rejected a bid from Chelsea for star striker Fernando Torres.

Chelsea have long been admirers of the Spain international, and the bid was given the green light by club owner Roman Abramovich, who hoped to finally get his man in a shock January transfer window move.

The London club is believed to have made a bid in the region of £35 million, but Liverpool declared they have no intention of selling Torres.

“Chelsea has made a bid for Fernando which has been turned down,” a Liverpool spokesman said, according to The Times. “The player is not for sale.”

Torres had struggled earlier in the season under Roy Hodgson, but caught the eye when he scored a stunning goal against Carlo Ancelotti's side and has since enjoyed a resurgence in form under Kenny Dalglish.

The World Cup winner declared his commitment to the Merseyside club in the summer, but reportedly had a clause inserted in his contract that would allow him to leave should they receive an offer of £50m.

Torres' current deal expires in 2013, but Chelsea are understood to be hoping the striker could seek a move away from Anfield following what could be another unsuccessful season.

Jose Reina Excited About Liverpool Future

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina reflected the optimistic mood infusing the squad after back-to-back wins by talking about an "exciting time" ahead.

Contrasting victories over Wolves and Fulham have lifted the Reds into seventh in the Barclays Premier League, their highest position all season after the worst start since 1953/54.

They are now only six points behind fifth-placed Tottenham and Reina believes they can look ahead to the rest of the campaign with confidence.

"It's an exciting time and we still have half of the season remaining so there are a lot of points at stake," he said.

"We want to get as high as we possibly can in the league. It is really competitive and we have to keep this up.

"And we still have the Europa League to come (Liverpool face Sparta Prague in the last 32)."

After successive wins and clean sheets Liverpool have a weekend off because of the FA Cup - which they exited at Manchester United 24 hours after Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson.

But although the squad will be given time off to recover from a run of seven games in 26 days Reina knows they cannot afford to allow their momentum to stall.

It is therefore crucial they get a result when Stoke visit Anfield on Wednesday, especially with a trip to Chelsea coming the following Sunday.

"We will enjoy some time with our family and then it is back to work to get ready for the next game," he told

"Our target is another three points against Stoke.

"It is always a tough game and it's always a nightmare to face the (Rory Delap) long throw which is one of their main strengths.

"But we will only worry about our own strengths and worry what we do."

The week between games may give midfielders Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing enough time to overcome injuries.

Lucas missed the win over Fulham because of a hamstring strain while Spearing has a small fracture of a bone in his foot.

Neither is expected to be sidelined for long, with Dalglish admitting they could have been pressed into action against the Cottagers had it been entirely necessary.

"Lucas may have been able to play but I didn't think it was worth it and there was there was no point because we have Christian Poulsen to fill in there," he said.

"Jay could also have played but there was no point in risking him because if it got worse he would be out for six to eight weeks so we tried to minimize the amount of time they will be out."

Palsson Ties Up Hibs Move

Hibernian have completed the signing of Icelandic youngster Victor Palsson on an 18-month contract from Liverpool. revealed earlier this week that the 19-year-old midfielder was set to join Hibs after failing to make the breakthrough at Liverpool.

He made three appearances on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge back in November and Palsson is looking forward to his opportunity at Easter Road.

He told the club's official website: "I played for Iceland Under 21s against Scotland at Easter Road a few months ago and I was really impressed with the atmosphere; it is a special stadium.

"As soon as I was aware of Hibernian's interest, I was really keen to join the club and to work with the manager; it is a really exciting move for me.

"I believe the Scottish league will suit my way of playing and I am looking forward to playing for Hibernian.

"Edinburgh is a great city and everything about the move indicates it is the right decision for me."

Palsson is Hibs manager Colin Calderwood's fourth signing of the transfer window after Matt Thornhill, Martin Scott and Richie Towell also joined the SPL strugglers.

Reds Ready For Cup Action

John McMahon's Liverpool Reserves are back in action on Tuesday night when they take on Prescot Cables in the quarter-final of the Liverpool Senior Cup at Valerie Park.

The young Reds will begin the defence of the trophy they have won on over 30 occasions throughout the years but they face a strong challenge from Evo Stick First Division outfit Prescot Cables.

Their manager Dave Ridler is a big Red and is also involved in coaching at the club's Academy so it will be a special night for him and his team.

"We are all really looking forward to the game and it's always a special occasion whenever you play Liverpool," said Ridler.

"We have got a few Liverpool and Everton supporters in the team and they will all want to give a good account of themselves.

"Ben Parsonage plays for us and he was part of two FA Youth Cup winning squads for Liverpool so I'm sure he will want to do well.

"We are playing well at the moment and I'm sure this will be a good game."