Hodgson stands firm over Torres future

16 July 2010 02:47
iverpool manager Roy Hodgson has warned potential suitors Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona that striker Fernando Torres is not for sale.[LNB] The 26-year-old Spain international has been the subject of persistent speculation linking him with a big-money move away from Anfield this summer.[LNB]The trio have all been mentioned as potential destinations but new boss Hodgson, having met Torres this week, has emphasised his determination to keep him.[LNB]Hodgson took charge at Liverpool a fortnight ago but was unable to meet Torres at first due to the player's involvement in the World Cup in South Africa.[LNB]Speaking at his team's pre-season training camp, Hodgson said: "I have met with Fernando.[LNB]"I found him to be a very pleasant man and we had a nice conversation.[LNB]"As far as we are concerned he is a Liverpool player and we want him to remain a Liverpool player.[LNB]"He is not for sale and we don't welcome any offers for him. We want to keep him.[LNB]"My conversation with him was only short because I had to leave to come to the training camp in Switzerland.[LNB]"We spoke about football, the World Cup, his injury, and I told him how much I am looking forward to working with him.[LNB]"Christian Purslow [managing director] was also at the meeting and chatted to Fernando for a lot longer after I left but my chat with him was only about football matters."[LNB]Liverpool officials flew to Spain to meet Torres this week to assess the injury he sustained in the World Cup final last weekend.[LNB]Torres suffered a slight tear in an adductor muscle in the closing stages of Spain's glorious defeat of Holland in Johannesburg and will be out of action for another three weeks.[LNB]That rules him out of much of Hodgson's pre-season plans, and a two-legged Europa League qualifier, but he had been granted a three-week break due to the World Cup anyway.[LNB]Liverpool are still hopeful Torres will be fit for their Premier League opener against Arsenal on August 15.[LNB]Hodgson was equally forthright on the subject of captain Steven Gerrard's future but the picture concerning Argentina skipper Javier Mascherano is unclear.[LNB]The pair, who have not begun pre-season training yet either, have also been linked with moves elsewhere.[LNB]Gerrard is rumoured to be a target of Real Madrid while Mascherano's agent has claimed Inter Milan are interested in his client.[LNB]Hodgson said: "I have met with Steven and thought the talks were positive.[LNB]"We are in a situation where we hear our players are being courted by other teams but it is all just rumours.[LNB]"What we haven't had is a club wanting to buy Steven Gerrard. Steven Gerrard is not for sale - I made that clear to him.[LNB]"I told him I supported the club's policy that we don't want to sell our best players and have to start building again."[LNB]He added: "I have tried to contact Javier. I have left him voice messages and sent him texts but had no reply.[LNB]"To be fair to him, that's not unusual because he's had a tough World Cup and I believe he's gone back to Argentina.[LNB]"It's not always easy to get in touch with people. I have tried to reach him to make clear I am happy to talk with him at his convenience."

Source: Team_Talk