Chelsea bid £35M for Fernando Torres, Liverpool say no. Apparently, that delicious little rumour is going to be on the back page of tomorrow's Times, according to Oliver Kay, said newspaper's fiancial correspondent. Kay revealed the startling headline in a tweet shortly after Oliver Holt at the Mirror let the world know that Chelsea were planning a £60M swoop for the striker, and the Telegraph is claiming the bid was in fact for £40M.
I think what we know at this point is that Chelsea did indeed make a bid for the Spanish striking superstar, and Liverpool rejected it. We even have confirmation from Liverpool now (from the Telegraph article):
With Chelsea seemingly on the verge of completing their long-running pursuit of Brazilian defender David Luiz, making a bid for Torres indicates that the club is ready to open up the wallet for a dramatic overhaul of the squad. Torres, widely considered to be one of the best forwards in the world, recently won the World Cup with Spain and despite a miserable start to the season is back to something approximating his best.
"Chelsea have made an offer for Fernando, which has been rejected. The player is not for sale."
Torres is believed to be disappointed with how things have gone for Liverpool over recent seasons, and the team's drop from Champions League status has led to suggestion that their core of star players: Torres, captain Steven Gerrard, and goalkeeper Pepe Reina might stage a mass Anfield exodus despite the new ownership attempting a frantic rebuild of the team. If Torres went up for sale (he isn't, according to Liverpool), he'd draw significant attention from a number of clubs, and Chelsea are known to be admirers of the striker.
Although he's slightly too injury-prone for my liking, Torres, 26, would be an instant upgrade over Nicolas Anelka and a possible long term replacement for Didier Drogba, who turns 33 in March, although he wouldn't really do much to solve Chelsea's problems with generating wide play on the right wing - Torres is far more likely to get into the thick of things in the centre than provide a consistent outlet on the right, although his pace would certainly make him playable there.
To be honest, I'd much rather buy a younger, less well-established player. When you put down the money for a player like Torres, all you can do in the best case scenario is get what you pay for. He's already an elite-level talent, and he gets paid like it. You're never going to get a good deal there, and if his production falls off a cliff, you're totally out of luck. It's far better, just from an economic perspective, to buy talented, promising players before they become megastars. Like I said when Chelsea were linked with Kaka - AC Milan bought the midfielder for £7M then sold him to Real Madrid for almost ten times as much. Who do you think did better there?
Torres's big name makes him a very dangerous property on the transfer market. I'd love to have him in the squad but really fear what we'd have to give up to get him. Why not spend far less money to go with Alexis Sanchez from Udinese, or even Liverpool target Luis Suarez, both of whom would be better fits for our current system anyway? The last thing this team should be doing is going down the Galacticos route.
It's also important to note that Liverpool's denial only confirms that a bid has been rejected - none of the figures mentioned by any media outlet have been validated, and some are simply freakishly outlandish. Chelsea will not buy Fernando Torres for £60M - and I have my doubts they'd buy him for £35M either, come to that. Anyway, there's been a bid made, and a bid rejected, unless the media have simply taken to making up quotes from clubs now, which I guess is entirely possible considering what happened earlier with the Guardian. About all we can say here is that it looks like Chelsea have a lot more cash - and the inclination to spend it - than anybody had previously realised. It looks like the next few days and summer will see a huge overhaul of the talent on the squad, even if it isn't necessarily Torres who comes in.