Torres on the brink of £50m Chelsea switch
Published 23:01 30/01/11 By Martin Lipton
Fernando Torres was last night on the brink of a British record £50million move to Chelsea as Roman Abramovich proved his renewed commitment to Stamford Bridge.
With Carlo Ancelotti convinced Torres can be the missing piece in the Chelsea jigsaw to give him a “dream team” front-line, Abramovich sanctioned a final assault on Liverpool to sign the Spaniard before the transfer window shuts this evening.
Liverpool reluctantly accept there is no point in keeping Torres against his will, with the only question now being the size of the fee Chelsea will have to pay to land their long-term prize transfer target.
And although Chelsea insiders were still suggesting the deal might go “to the wire” as Liverpool hold out for the best terms possible, Torres is expected to be confirmed as the most expensive player in British history by early evening - with a contract paying him £150,000 per week.
The Spaniard trained alone at Liverpool’s Melwood complex yesterday afternoon, waiting until the rest of Kenny Dalglish’s squad had finished their session before making what seemed set to be his final trip to the Merseysiders’ headquarters.
Torres has left Liverpool in no doubt over the past 72 hours that he wants to leave Anfield for Chelsea and the chance to spearhead what looks like the latest front in the Abramovich revolution in SW6.
With Chelsea poised to also complete the £25m capture of Benfica’s Brazilian centre-half David Luiz by the 11pm deadline it will represent the biggest outlay in a single day by any British club.
Anfield sources have intimated that Liverpool will require either a flat-out payment of £50m for Torres or a player plus cash deal with £10m-rated Nicolas Anelka returning to Anfield eight and a half years after completing a six-month loan spell on Merseyside.
Chelsea had preferred to let Daniel Sturridge go to help sweeten the deal rather than Anelka and while the Frenchman turns 32 in March Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti may want to retain his experience ahead of the looming return of the Champions League, especially with Torres ineligible to play for the Londoners in the FA Cup.
The Stamford Bridge hierarchy expect a final day of bluff and counter-bluff before the deal is ratified, with Torres unlikely to sign before the noon deadline which would allow him to make his debut at Sunderland tomorrow.
But while Chelsea would ideally involve a player in the move, Abramovich is ready to meet Liverpool’s cash valuation, with Torres then likely to make his debut AGAINST Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.