Chelsea won’t lure committed Torres away from Anfield
Roman Abramovich's millions are not enough to tempt Spain star into exit, writes Michael Owen
Liverpool have been quick to reject Chelsea’s £35m offer for star striker Fernando Torres.
But turn the clock back as little as seven months and the situation would have been very different.
The debt-laden reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, though nearing its end, was crippling the club financially as the pressure of ever-increasing interest payments forced the Reds to have another bargain-hunting summer in the transfer market.
Torres himself would also have considered his options. It took the Spaniard a considerable amount of time to openly commit himself to Liverpool in the wake of the World Cup, with the then managing director Christian Purslow having to travel out to Spain for talks with Torres and his representatives in a bid to make sure the striker kept his allegiances on Merseyside.
The scenario now is very different. Fenway Sports Group acquired Liverpool in October and brought back a degree of financial stability. And caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish -who replaced Roy Hodgson earlier this month -is attempting to rebuild Liverpool into a side capable of finishing the season in the top six and mounting a serious challenge in years to come.
Despite having a poor start to the season, Torres is also showing positive signs under the coaching of Dalglish, having put in a solid performance in the Merseyside derby before netting two goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Admittedly it’s not quite the same Torres who struck fear into defences across Europe in his opening two seasons at Anfield, but it is a committed Torres – and that commitment to the club is what will ensure Chelsea will fail in their attempts to seal a deal for the striker.
Torres loves Liverpool as much as Liverpool have grown to love him. In the summer, after announcing he would be staying at the club the striker said his “commitment and loyalty to the club and its fans is the same as it was on the first day that I signed”.
Indeed, even during the darkest days under Hodgson, when Torres often looked to be unhappy in the red shirt, the World Cup winner’s love of the club shone through. In the corridors of Anfield after a game earlier in the season Torres stood with teammate Steven Gerrard while he made his daughter sing Liverpool songs, much to the amusement of the Reds captain.
Though kept quiet, Torres did have a £50m buy-out clause built in to his contract last summer – and should Chelsea match the figure then the Spaniard would be free to talk to the London outfit with or without the permission of Liverpool.
However, this is unlikely to happen. Chelsea will have known about the clause, and if they were serious then they would have offered the amount to tempt Torres into a deal. Even if they did match the sum Torres would likely be reluctant to leave.
Liverpool are under new owners who want to take the club back to the Champions League and get them challenging for honours. In Dalglish, they have a manager, at least for now, who has a track record of winning trophies and has gained the esteemed position of being the club’s greatest living legend.
It could be said Torres had a similar passion for Atletico, his boyhood club, as he does for Liverpool now – yet he still left the Spanish outfit to move to England in search of trophies and European football. The difference is Torres didn’t see his career progressing at Atletico. At Liverpool, under the guidance of new owners and a legendary manager, he does – and that is why he will remain a Liverpool player for the foreseeable future.