Liverpool close on Torres as Suarez nears exit

File - Chelsea's Fernando Torres celebrates after scoring against Everton during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London May 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Liverpool have stepped up their attempts to bring former Kop idol Fernando Torres back to Merseyside, after meeting with the player’s agent in London, according to numerous British tabloids. Torres, who departed the Reds for Stamford Bridge for a British record of 50 million pounds ($76 million), has endured a disappointing time in the capital and netted only 35 times in 131 appearances for the Blues.

Liverpool have privately accepted that unsettled striker Luis Suarez may have played his final game for the club, and American owners Fenway Sports Group have now instructed managing director Ian Ayre to garner the highest possible transfer fee for their prized asset.

Premier League rivals Arsenal have already had two bids rejected for the Uruguayan – their latest being 40 million pounds – but it is understood that a third offer in excess of 50 million pounds will be enough to prize Suarez away from the 18-time league champions.

As soon as a deal for Suarez is finalized, Liverpool will make their move for Torres following successful talks with his agent Antonio Sanz in the capital Saturday, where personal terms were agreed over a 150,000-pounds-per-week, five-year deal.

The Spanish striker was recently informed by new Blues manager Jose Mourinho that he would only be utilized as a fringe player for the upcoming season, with the Portuguese actively pursuing the services of United forward Wayne Rooney to partner Romalu Lukaku in attack.

The two clubs have reportedly already agreed on a fee of 20 million pounds for the player in question, who moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2011.

It was thought that Torres would reject the advances of Liverpool in order to fight for his place in the Chelsea lineup, but after careful deliberation the 29-year-old has been swayed regarding a move back to the northwest.

After talks with close friends, family members and advisers, Torres has come to the conclusion that it would be in his best interests to rejoin Liverpool, especially during a season which ends with the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has refused to rule out a move to bring back Chelsea legend Didier Drogba to the club, who is currently on the books at Turkish side Galatasaray. Drogba spent eight highly successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League in his final year with Chelsea.

Mourinho has been on the lookout for a world class striker, with Rooney his top target. But should he fail to land the 27-year-old Englishman, he will reportedly turn his attentions to Drogba, whom he signed from Marseille for 24 million pounds back in 2004.

“He is a player and he is a winner and he enjoys his game and I almost had a heart attack because of him,” Mourinho told the Telegraph.

“Let him enjoy a good couple of years of football, but after that, he is loved in this club by everyone and that’s very, very normal. I think one day he will have a Chelsea future.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 31, 2013, on page 15.




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