Man City to launch cut-price £40million raid for Fernando Torres - Exclusive
Manchester City will attempt to cash in on the chaos at Liverpool by offering the Merseyside club £40million for Fernando Torres.
While Anfield boss Rafa Benitez appears to be ready to perform a dramatic U-turn by rejecting an offer from Juventus and committing himself to Liverpool, Torres’s future remains in the balance.
Despite assurances from new chairman Martin Broughton that he doesn’t need to sell the Spanish striker to service the club’s £351m debts, City are still ready to weigh in with a bid for Torres which falls £20m short of Liverpool’s valuation.
City’s Abu Dhabi owners believe their chances of landing the 26-year-old forward are high after Carlo Ancelotti ruled Chelsea out of making a move.
Ancelotti said: “Torres is a fantastic player, but comes with a very expensive price tag. I won’t go for him in the summer because, with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka in the squad, it’s difficult to think about signing him.”
City have been given encouragement by Torres’s advisers to test Liverpool’s resolve to keep their star.
Despite suffering the bitter disappointment of missing out on qualifying for next season’s Champions League, that won’t prevent them from launching a bid to bring in the world superstar they crave.
City may even offer Torres a clause in a £200,000-a-week contract that would give him an escape route after just 12 months if they once again fail to qualify for Europe’s top club competition.
After giving Roberto Mancini assurances about his future, City’s owners are now going to hand the Italian as much money as he wants to build a Premier League-winning side.
Ironically, City’s quest for Torres could be helped by Benitez’s failure to agree a deal to quit for Juventus.
The Turin club were willing to offer the Spaniard a £4m-a-year contract and a £5m signing-on fee.
But the initial deal stalled over Benitez’s reluctance to walk out on Liverpool without guarantees that he would be given full control over transfers and appointments to his back-room staff.
And after giving Benitez until tomorrow to make a decision, Juventus are ready to look to bring back former player and coach Didier Deschamps from Marseille after being hit by a compensation demand from Liverpool believed to be £10m.
A source close to the Italian club said: “Juventus feel they have gone as far as they can to bring Benitez to Italy.
“The latest obstacle is compensation. Time is starting to run out.”
Liverpool believe Juve’s bid to prise Benitez away has been driven by his agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon.
The Spaniard has four years left on his contract and it would have cost co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett £16million to sack him.
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher will be named in England’s preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup finals on Tuesday.
The Liverpool defender has agreed to return and is set to make the 23-man party that heads to South Africa.