Torres has wanted Chelsea move for more than a year Revealed: The extraordinary lengths Liverpool went to in a vain attempt to keep unhappy striker.
by LFC Transfer Speculations on Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 09:40
Torres has wanted Chelsea move for more than a year
Revealed: The extraordinary lengths Liverpool went to in a vain attempt to keep unhappy striker
FERNANDO TORRES has been desperate to quit Anfield for Stamford Bridge for more than a year.
Torres's wish to join Chelsea has been an open secret at Liverpool since his representatives first told the club their star brand was unsettled in December 2009.
This week's transfer request is not a knee-jerk reaction to another poor season. The previous Kop regime was left in no doubt Torres would ask to quit the club if Chelsea made a mega bid.
Liverpool's new owners anticipated a new offer during this transfer window. It shocks no one at Anfield he wants to go, but it is the late timing of Chelsea's move which has caused consternation.
There is disbelief the player would willingly leave Kenny Dalglish in the lurch for the rest of the campaign as the new manager bids to cement his position.
Torres has given plenty of hints about his state of mind in the last year, speaking publicly about the terrible transfers of 2009 and their impact on the squad, specifically the sale of Xabi Alonso.
The current miserable campaign compounded the 26-year-old's yearning to leave at the earliest opportunity. He thinks the chance to go to Stamford Bridge may not come again.
Liverpool knew their ongoing Champions League absence, likely to last a further 18 months, would force Torres to look elsewhere.
His original plan was to enjoy a sparkling World Cup and say goodbye. He told team-mates he was desperate to follow Yossi Benayoun to Stamford Bridge last summer, but the option was cut off and instead he surprisingly declared ongoing loyalty to his No.9 shirt.
The Merseysiders weregiven an unexpected reprieve only because of his injuries and loss of form in South Africa. Liverpool did not receive a decent offer last summer.
Manchester City bid £70million when Torres was at his peak in 2009. The Spanish striker did not fancy City and Liverpool had just challenged for the title.
By last July, a paltry £25m from Chelsea was on the table. Torres knew that was not enough to force the issue in the same manner as this week, but he and his representatives were desperate for Chelsea to return.
That is despite Liverpool indulging his ego to extraordinary degrees to keep him.
Former managing director Christian Purslow gave him a £30,000-a-week pay rise, a lucrative image-rights package and a personal physio at Melwood to deal with his countless muscle strains.
He was granted the notorious £50m exit clause in his £120,000-a-week deal which was activated last summer.That was part of a guarantee the club would be sold during the course of this season, while preserving the player's value if his dip in form continued.
Torres wanted more. He sought assurances a takeover would lead to a mass influx of players.
Liverpool never gave that, but strangely he was seduced by the claims of Chinese suitor Kenny Huang, who tried to buy the club.
Huang suggested there would be a kitty to buy anyone in the world, including Didier Drogba and Andres Iniesta. It was pure fantasy but Torres was taken in.
When Huang's 'bid' for Anfield failed - the money for a deal simply not there - and the more sober promises of New England Sports Ventures followed, Torres felt deflated.
This moodiness has shown in his performances when 'El Nino' has been more like 'El Sulko'.
An introverted presence around the club's training complex, there has been resentment at the manner he has hidden behind off-field problems to excuse poor displays.
There have been moments of genius - ironically, Chelsea suffered more than most - but there is damning evidence of his fall in standards. Many blamed a shift in tactics by Roy Hodgson, but there was more to it.
Liverpool's own Pro-Zone analysis, the data used by all professional clubs, was handed to Torres last month to send him a message about his performances.
Last season he averaged 59 runs per match. In the January home defeat against Wolves, the loss which effectively sealed Hodgson's fate, he made 23. The accusation from his own coaching staff was he was not trying hard enough.
Excuses will be offered on his behalf. In fact, the recent takeover and appointment of Dalglish is a bit of an inconvenience to Torres and his PR team.
They will stress the disastrous former American regime and reign of Hodgson gave Torres no choice but to go.
Like everyone connected to Liverpool FC, he was disillusioned under Tom Hicks and George Gillett. But they have gone.
His relationship with Rafa Benitez had deteriorated and the pair fell out last season. He has gone.
Torres had no relationship whatsoever with Hodgson. He has gone.
Any accusation Liverpool lack ambition in the week they have broken their transfer record will not add up, either.
The process of overhauling the squad has begun with the signing of Luis Suarez. Liverpool intend to add more by tomorrow, with Blackpool's Charlie Adam hoping to complete an £8m deal.
Instead, Torres wants to be the first deal of Chelsea's rebuilding project.
His destination erases any sympathy on the Kop. Chelsea have always been seen at Anfield as the antithesis to how Liverpool perceives itself.
Torres, a supposed student of Anfield history, has overlooked two traumatic recent chapters. Steven Gerrard faced terrible abuse for twice flirting with the Londoners. Michael Owen was accused of treachery for leaving at the end of the transfer window when it was too late to find a replacement.
Anyone who doubts the player's complicity in the timing of this bid must believe in Easter bunnies. With the Liverpool players having two days off, Torres fled to Spain hours before the news of Chelsea' s bid went public last Thursday.
That will shock the Kop who will argue that if this had to happen, the least the club deserved was time to replace him.
Last night Torres was due to return to England, no doubt hoping he would have permission to fly back to Heathrow rather than Liverpool.
Liverpool are losing the fight to keep him, but in truth there has been a shift in mood during the course of this season. They will not pander to the needs of "Brand Torres" any more.
Club statements insist he is not for sale, but they are resigned to his departure. Most likely that will be tomorrow, but definitely before the start of next season.
Unlike previous rebuttals which were kept private, Liverpool have opted for complete transparency this time. That is significant. The hard line has set the tone that they will not accept less than their £50m valuation.
They want the Kop to know they are dealing with a player who has been determined to go for a long time.
They want the Kop to know that when Torres is paraded in his Chelsea shirt, he will be realising a dream he has harboured far too long to justify his right to wear the Liverpool jersey any longer.