Exclusive: Torres and Reina ready to use secret escape clauses to quit Liverpool in January
Published 23:59 27/10/10 By James Fletcher
Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina are ready to quit Liverpool in January thanks to secret escape clauses in their contracts.
The Spain internationals made the get-out agreements with their Anfield bosses in the summer when they were persuaded to stay despite the departure of Spanish boss Rafa Benitez.
Now Torres and Reina, key to Roy Hodgson’s attempts to steer the club away from the relegation zone, want out after promises of major team investment went unfulfilled.
Mirror Sport understands the pair will tell the club in December they wish to leave, with Manchester City keen on £50 million Torres and Manchester United and Arsenal pursuing £20m Reina.
The double whammy will devastate Liverpool fans who hoped John W Henry’s purchase of the club would bring the glory days back to Anfield.
Instead, the American has made it clear there will be no major spending in January, and with many players unhappy with the direction the club is taking under Hodgson, Torres and Reina are ready to make a move.
Torres was talked into staying in the summer when a three man delegation flew to Madrid for secret talks with with the striker’s representatives on July 14 - three days after the World Cup Final.
It is understood Torres lawyer Margarita Pilar Garay-Bret and Jose Antonio Martin were present at the meeting.
One member of the delegation remained in Madrid to speak directly with Torres before returning to Liverpool confident the Spaniard would stay.
Torres and Spanish teammate Reina - a powerful voice in the dressing room - were both poised to quit Liverpool at the time with Chelsea having tabled a £50 million bid for Torres while Arsenal had offered £20 million for Reina.
Both were upset at the lack of investment, the club’s failure to secure Champions League status and the grim reality of their Premiership title hopes.
Torres was eventually persuaded to remain at Liverpool after three days of talks - during which the delegation described in detail plans laid out specifically by Christian Purslow, the club’s chief executive who quit last week following the sale of the club.
Torres was told the new owners - that were not identified to him - were in place and ‘days’ away from completing the Liverpool takeover.
It is claimed he was told Roy Hodgson’s appointment was a temporary measure and a big name manager was already lined up - armed with a £100 million transfer kitty offered as a ‘quick fix’ to drag the club back on terms with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
It is understood Liverpool planned to spend £50 million in the summer with a further £50 million available in January for targets no longer chasing Champions League ambitions.
Torres and Reina reluctantly agreed to stay at Anfield - but only on condition they each had an escape clause written into their contracts.
Mirror Sport can reveal the pair are now furious at the subsequent takeover - not directly with new American owner John W Henry or New England Sports Venture - but with the management team they feel misled them over the club’s future.
Hodgson has been told there will be no marquee signings in the January transfer window leaving Torres and Reina feeling they have wasted a season.
Insiders at Anfield fear that without Champions League qualification the club will struggle to make a profit - but crucially then have nothing to offer potential big name signings.
Mirror Sport revealed on Tuesday that Reina has been targeted by Sir Alex Ferguson for a sensational switch to Manchester United - and that now could happen in January.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will resume his quest to sign the keeper and the immediate lure of Champions League football will prove a massive draw for the World Cup winner.
Torres will have his pick of clubs - even though the ‘big’ clubs very rarely make marquee signings in January because most major players are cup tied - thanks to Liverpool’s failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
Representatives of Torres and Reina did not respond to attempts to contact them yesterday.