CITY MAKE TORRES NO.1 TARGET
Manchester City are willing to pay any price to sign Liverpool striker, Fernando Torres.
Torres’s future at Anfield remains shrouded in uncertainty with Christian Purslow, the club’s managing director, holding extensive talks with the 26-year-old striker and the manager, Roy Hodgson, but conceding he can do no more to convince the striker to stay.
Chelsea and Barcelona have been linked with the former Atlético Madrid captain but may struggle to meet Liverpool’s £70m valuation.
City’s hopes of signing Torres were believed to have ended when they failed to qualify for the Champions League last season but Mancini, who is also interested in Mario Balotelli of Internazionale and Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko, insists the prospect of Torres making a sensational switch from Anfield to Eastlands is not over and is willing to better the £32.5m record fee City spent to sign Robinho from Real Madrid.
The City manager, who has taken his summer spending to £78m with the £18.9m arrival of Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio, said: “Torres is one of the best strikers in Europe and is already playing in the Premier League for three years and knows it very well. But it depends on his situation – his price and whether he wants to come.
“There are two or three strikers that we could go for, but it is the same situation as it is with James Milner. First there is the price and then it depends if the players want to change team. Until today, Liverpool haven’t bought many players.”
City officials have indicated the club has more chance of signing Balotelli and Dzeko than Torres, with the lack of Champions League football on offer still a determining factor despite their ability to fund a deal and to offer players £200,000-a-week.
The Spanish striker has stressed that money will not be the over-riding motivation as he considers his future at Liverpool this summer but, nevertheless, confirmation of City’s interest will further unsettle Anfield officials as they attempt to persuade their prized asset to stay.
Torres is settled in Liverpool but disillusioned with the club’s failure to secure new investment having been told a takeover was imminent when he signed a new four-year contract worth £110,000-a-week last August. His insistence that Liverpool require “four or five” top-class signings to compete for honours next season is unlikely to materialise and Purslow has spent several days attempting to pacify the striker.
Hodgson confirmed at the weekend: “I made it clear from my point of view that I’m really looking forward to working with him and I believe he’s a key, key figure at the club. I obviously want him to be a part of the team we’re trying to build here and I can only hope he’ll buy into what the club is offering him. I don’t think there are any worries with him in terms of me personally or what we’re doing. I think the concerns go back once again to the time before I came to the club.”