January 29 2011 at 02:20pm
London – Liverpool were on Saturday preparing for a fresh bid from Premier League rivals Chelsea for Fernando Torres after the striker submitted a transfer request.
Liverpool have agreed a fee of 22.8 millon pounds to buy Luis Suarez from Ajax Amsetrdam, and it remains unclear if he was always intended as a replacement for Torres, or if the initial plan was for him to play alongside him.
Suarez hasn't yet agreed personal terms, but given his evident eagerness for the move, those negotiations are not thought likely to prove problematic.
Chelsea had a 35 million-pound bid for Torres rejected on Thursday. Liverpool turned that down, pointing out his contract runs until 2013.
"Fernando Torres tonight (Friday) submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected by Liverpool," the club said in a statement on their website.
"Fernando is under a 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."
Torres, however, is widely reported to have a buy-out clause in his deal which will allow him to leave if another team matches his 50-million-pound valuation.
Chelsea had been told that the Spanish international was not for sale, Liverpool said in a statement on its website on Friday.
The timing of the request is odd, coming just 72 hours before the transfer widow closes, and making it relatively simple for Liverpool to head off bids from Chelsea, at least until the summer.
That could then leave Torres, previously a darling of the fans, in an extremely awkward position for the remainder of the season as Liverpool chase qualification for European competition.
At the moment they lie seventh, which might be enough for Europa League qualification, providing the Carling Cup and FA Cup are both won by teams who finish in the top six. – Sapa-dpa/AFP