• Premier League

Chelsea set to make record bid for Torres

Harry Harris, Soccernet Correspondent
May 17, 2010

Fernando Torres will be the subject of a world record bid from Chelsea within days.

The total package of transfer fee and salary will make Torres a staggering £130 million investment. And Soccernet has been informed that owner Roman Abramovich is personally taking control of the project to bring the Liverpool striker to Chelsea.

Torres has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid for a some time but the Blues will be first to make a concrete offer.

Abramovich is ready to release the cash following a Premier League and FA Cup double this season, but he is also acutely aware he could cut an alternative deal with Liverpool in need of new players.

Chelsea are willing to offer three players in part exchange, as an option to smooth through the Torres transfer.

Abramovich is also prepared to match City's expected offer to Torres of £200,000-a-week, which is being mooted via the middle men now authorised to try and clinch the deal.

An insider told Soccernet: "Torres is the best, and Roman wants the best. He has identified Torres as the player who can help him bring the Champions League to Stamford Bridge.

"Torres can go to City for just as much money perhaps even more, but it's clear that Chelsea offer far more in terms of a crack at the Champions League whereas City aren't even in it."

Chelsea are drawing up a list of players to offer to Liverpool in part exchange for Torres that could take the overall transfer value above the £80 million world record Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo.

The deal could be structured like this; pick any three players from a specified list plus £40 million cash up front for Torres. That offer, according to Soccernet sources, will be made well ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa, and most likely early next week.

With the three players averaging around £15 million each, the total valuation of the Torres offer would be in excess of the Ronaldo fee.

Abramovich is personally spearheading the quest to land Torres, and his manager Carlo Ancelotti will consider which players to use as bait to tempt Liverpool: Jose Bosingwa, Nicolas Anelka, Ricardo Carvalho, Deco, Salomon Kalou and Paulo Ferreira.

Anelka is the one player the Italian coach might be reluctant to offer up and, of course, the Frenchman might not wish to return to Anfield - although he has expressed regret at failing to win a permanent move to the club after spending a loan spell on Merseyside.

Manchester City are also in a position to offer Liverpool a shopping list of swap players, as well as a cash payment in excess of Chelsea's, but the prospect of joining the Double winners and a club intent on landing the Champions League would be far more appealing.

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are battling with losses of £54.9 million, a net debt of £351 million, no Champions League football and with new chairman Martin Broughton an appointee of the club's bank RBS, a £40 million cash-plus-players bid for their star asset will clearly be accepted.

Ironically, Broughton is a Chelsea season ticket holder, and any decision to sell would inevitably make him unpopular at Anfield.

Such is the ground work being prpeared at the Bridge for the Torres bid, that star striker Didier Drogba is already ready to welcome him to the club.

"Of course I would welcome Torres," Drogba said last week. "Every time a new player comes here, it makes the club bigger and gives us a lot of strength. If there is a chance for him to come here, he will be welcome, because any help is welcome.''

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