Liverpool deny Torres request, agree Suarez deal
London: Liverpool have turned down a transfer request from Fernando Torres hours after Kenny Dalglish made his first major transfer impact in his second spell as manager by agreeing to sign Uruguay forward Luis Suarez.
The club, who said on Friday they had agreed to buy Suarez from Ajax Amsterdam for 26.5 million euros (£22.7 million), have made it clear they intend to keep Spain striker Torres.
“Fernando is under long-term contract and the club expect him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement,” the Merseysiders said on their website.
On Thursday, Liverpool turned down what media reported was a British record fee of around 40 million pounds ($63.45 million) for the forward from Chelsea.
Torres has struggled for form this season but has looked sharper since Dalglish took over from Roy Hodgson on an interim basis this month, helping to lift Liverpool up to seventh in the Premier League with back-to-back wins.
If Liverpool can persuade Torres to stay they will end up with a potent strikeforce thanks to the addition of 24-year-old Suarez, who scored 111 goals in 159 Ajax appearances.
Liverpool said on their website they had been granted permission by Ajax to discuss personal terms with Suarez and his representatives, adding the deal was subject to a medical.
“I can understand Luis wanting to go to Liverpool, it’s a beautiful club, but then it has to be satisfying for both parties,” said Ajax coach Frank de Boer in a statement.
Nicknamed ‘El Pistolero’ or ‘The Gunfighter’, Suarez has just finished serving a seven-match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder in a league match in November.
He was also at the centre of controversy at last year’s World Cup when Uruguay went through to the semi-finals as he handled the ball on the goalline in the final minute of extra time against Ghana to prevent a winning goal by Dominic Adiyiah.
Suarez was sent off but his team subsequently won a penalty shootout.
The striker has scored seven league goals this season after notching 48 in all competitions last term to earn the Dutch Footballer of the Year award.
Suarez was sent off on his Uruguay debut in February 2007 and has netted 16 goals in 38 international appearances.
He is set to join Liverpool just as the 18-times English champions are showing signs of recovery after spending much of the season in the bottom half of the table.
Since taking over the club in October, Liverpool’s American owners have given little away in terms of what the budget for transfers might be or whether there are any long-term plans to keep Dalglish on beyond the end of the season.