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Torres nears exit door

Torres nears exit door

Jun 25 2007

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

Fernando Torres in action for Athletico Madrid

ATLETICO MADRID have had a 17 million-euros-plus-Mista bid turned down for Diego Forlan.

But the offer is the first indication that Atletico are preparing for life without Fernando Torres.

The 23-year-old Spanish international is wanted by Reds boss Rafa Benitez, and both parties now appear to be jockeying for position.

Torres’ agent, Antonio Sanz, has described a reported offer from the Reds of £16m plus Luis Garcia as “insufficient – if you keep in mind that Fernando guarantees you 15 goals per year, especially when Nani, an unknown player, cost Manchester United £20m.”

Another report claims that Atletico want Peter Crouch rather than Garcia, but Benitez will not part with last season’s 18-goal top scorer.

Villarreal representative Jose Manuel Llaneza, meanwhile, says any club that wants to tempt Forlan away will have to shell out more money.

“Villarreal does not want to bother negotiating for Forlan,” said Llaneza in Spanish newspaper Marca. “His value is 23 million euros (£17m).”

Reds boss Benitez initially considered Forlan himself, but decided the asking price was too high.

But he is prepared to push the boat out for Torres.

Reports in Spain suggest Atletico Madrid have been demanding 36 million euros (£24million), while Liverpool are only willing to offer 30 (£20million).

Torres’ buy-out clause in a straight-cash deal is 40million euros (£27 million).

Reds boss Benitez would like to add to his squad before the bulk of his players report back for pre-season training.

Liverpool’s non-international players report back to Melwood on Thursday.

The players involved in end of season internationals have been given an extra week’s break.

Midfielder Javier Mascherano, however, is still several weeks away from enjoying a rest this summer.

Mascherano has been named in Argentina’s 23-man squad for the forthcoming Copa America tournament in Venezuela.

The South American showpiece kicks-off tomorrow, with Argentina playing their opening game two days later against the United States. Also in their group are Columbia and Paraguay.

The Copa America is the oldest international tournament in the world. It was first contested in 1916 and, along with Uruguay, Argentina are the most successful nation having triumphed 14 times. In the last final, however, they were beaten by Brazil on penalties.


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