Benitez warns Liverpool's owners: Sell Torres and I will quit - even for £100m

17 November 2009 04:02
Rafa Benitez has told Liverpool's owners he will quit if star striker Fernando Torres is sold against his will - even if they were offered £100million.

Key man: If Fernando Torres leaves Liverpool, so will manager Rafa Benitez

The club's debts - reported to be up to £500m in the red -  have led to questions about whether co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would be tempted should a big-money offer come in for the Spain forward.

But Benitez said the 25-year-old would not be sold, even if an offer in excess of £100m was made for a player who cost him around £20m in 2007.

'I'm confident it will never happen,' he said. 'If it did, I'd resign.'

The financial situation at Liverpool means they struggle to compete with their Barclays Premier League big-four rivals in the transfer market.

Benitez has seen his spending power sharply reduced this year, his last signing being Sotirios Krygiakos for £2m.

This followed an £18.5m fee for Glen Johnson that cost little more than £10m once money Portsmouth still owed for Peter Crouch was taken into account and the £20m paid for Roma's Alberto Aquliani - which was funded by the £30m received for Xabi Alonso's move to Real Madrid.

Americans Hicks and Gillett are known to have differing views of the direction Liverpool should take, Gillett believed to be ready to sell his half stake to Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

That was then: Fernando Torres poses with Benitez the day he signed

But this is now: Liverpool's co-owners Tom Hicks (left) and George Gillett could be tempted with jaw-dropping offers for Torres

But Benitez insisted in the Times: 'We are progressing - I'm happy and want to do the best for this club. The team will improve. When we have key players on the pitch we are as good as anyone. We have proved this in the past.'

But he reiterated that success at Anfield will only be with Torres in the side, not replacements bought with cash from his sale.

He warned: 'That won't happen. I'd quit.'

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Source: Daily_Mail