EXCLUSIVE: City line up £50m raid to prise Fernando Torres from Liverpool

29 November 2009 01:34
The billionaire owners of Manchester City are to rock ailing Liverpool by launching an audacious £50million bid for star striker Fernando Torres.

City aim to use their financial muscle to force Liverpool to sell their prize asset and believe that if the troubled Merseyside club fail to qualify for next season's Champions League, they will find it hard to refuse a big offer.

Vulnerable: Liverpool, debt-ridden and eliminated at the group stage of the Champions League, face local rivals Everton today

But City also know they would have to be able to offer Champions League football to have any chance of signing Torres and Mark Hughes' team will regard yesterday's 1-1 draw with Hull at Eastlands as an opportunity lost as they bid to deny Liverpool a top-four finish.

A source said: 'Make no mistake about it, this club is ambitious. They believe there is not a player in the world who is outside their budget and that includes Torres.

'The owners are in it for the long haul. Initially, their number one target is the Champions League next season. But they see that only as the launching pad for greater things. They are now probably the wealthiest club on the globe - now they want to be the best.'

Liverpool, debt-ridden and eliminated at the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in manager Rafael Benitez's fiveyear reign, have never been so vulnerable to rich predators like City and the Anfield crisis would deepen today if they lose at Everton.

Prize asset: Liverpool striker Fernando Torres

Benitez announced earlier this month he would resign if Torres was sold, but failure to finish in the top four would cost the club £30m and put them under pressure to balance the books.

Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow, insisted after midweek confirmation of their Champions League exit that Benitez's job was safe and that a good run in the Europa League would all but make up for lost income.

But missing out on the Champions League altogether would cause real problems and with Torres unlikely to be happy if not playing in Europe's premier club competition, the door is open to the type of deal talked about when the oil-rich Abu Dhabi billionaires first took over at Eastlands in August 2008.

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Source: Daily_Mail