Liverpool have asked for Nicolas Anelka to be included in Chelsea's £50 million bid for Fernando Torres as a stunning deal before the transfer window closes grows more likely, Goal.com UK can reveal.
Contrary to Liverpool's public stance that Torres is not for sale, the club is willing to negotiate with the Londoners as they fear the negative consequences of keeping a player who has publicly revealed his desire to move on.
Torres submitted a written transfer request on Friday night which was rejected by Liverpool, but that has not deterred Chelsea from making a second offer for the Spaniard of £40m in cash plus Daniel Sturridge, the England Under-21 striker.
With Torres, 26, pushing both clubs to negotiate over a move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, Liverpool have asked for Frenchman Anelka, not Sturridge, to be included in the deal to meet their £50m valuation.
Anelka is considered a proven goalscorer who can slot into the Liverpool side immediately and a more suitable partner for Luis Suarez, who is on Merseyside to complete a £22.8m switch from Ajax.
Anelka spent a loan spell at Anfield in the 2001-02 season and could be open to a return as Torres' arrival would cast doubt over the 31-year-old's future at Stamford Bridge. He played the full 90 minutes for the Londoners in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Everton in the FA Cup fourth round but has played for eight different clubs in his career, including Liverpool on loan in 2002.
Chelsea would still prefer to offload Sturridge, who has failed to spark since joining from Manchester City in 2009 and attracted interest from Liverpool last month but is considered as a prospect for the future rather than someone who is ready to deliver now.
Liverpool turned down an opening £35m offer from Chelsea for Torres on Thursday and are determined that their star striker will only leave under their terms, despite the player's desire to leave Anfield.
“Fernando is under long-term contract and the club expect him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement,” said the club in a statement on Friday night.
There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Torres' contract, which expires in summer 2013, includes a buyout clause that will allow him to leave if a club offers £50m after the end of the season. Goal.com UK revealed on Friday that he has made up his mind that he will not be playing for Liverpool by the start of next season.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is determined to complete a deal for the World Cup winner, who he also tried to sign last summer but was rebuffed by the Merseyside club.
When contacted by Goal.com UK, a Liverpool spokesman said: "We don't comment on transfer speculation."