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Atletico ready to thwart Liverpool's pursuit of Torres

By Andy Hunter Published: 21 June 2007

The Premiership elite are facing another summer of frustration in their attempts to lure Fernando Torres to England, with Atletico Madrid refusing to countenance the sale of their talismanic captain.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been strongly linked with the 23-year-old forward who has a €40m [£26.9m] release clause in his contract and is considering finally severing his allegiance to his boyhood club following their failure to qualify for the Uefa Cup next season.

Rafael Benitez has reportedly made Torres his primary target as the Liverpool manager seeks a high-profile goalscorer to rectify the shortcomings he believes were responsible for defeat in the European Cup final. However, £28m is beyond the budget of the new American owners George Gillet and Tom Hicks as Benitez looks to strengthen in several departments this summer and Atletico have informed the Anfield club that Torres is not for sale. The Spanish club are expected this afternoon to state publicly their intention of retaining the Spanish international.

The former Conservative leader Michael Howard has offered to be a witness for Liverpool fans demanding compensation from Uefa after they were shut out of the Champions' League final in Athens. Howard, a Liverpool supporter who was at the game, said he was willing to give evidence in court if necessary.

Tottenham appear to be moving closer to signing the France Under-21 defender Younes Kaboul from Auxerre. The Spurs manager, Martin Jol, has signed left-back Gareth Bale from Southampton but wants to bolster his defence after having to juggle resources last season. The Auxerre vice-chairman Gerard Bourgoin said: "The negotiations are very advanced."

Kaboul, 21, is valued at around £8m. Jol also has his captain Ledley King recovering from knee surgery.

The Wigan goalkeeper Mike Pollitt has signed a new contract with the club, keeping him at the JJB Stadium for another season.

Scarborough went out of business yesterday after a long struggle with financial problems. The club were wound up yesterday at the High Court in Leeds.

The non-league club's website announced that discussions about starting a club are ongoing between two interested parties, the former chairman Ian Scobbie and fans' organisation The Seadog Trust. It added: "Both parties are urged to discuss the best way forward for a football club in Scarborough, and ensure that only one application is put forward to both the North Riding FA and Northern Counties East League."

Scarborough played in the Football League between 1987 and 1999


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