Liverpool turn down Torres transfer request

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Liverpool have turned down a transfer request from Fernando Torres, the English Premier League club said Saturday, following an audacious bid from Chelsea for the Spanish international.

“Fernando Torres tonight submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected by Liverpool,” Liverpool said in a statement on its website.

“Fernando is under a long-term contract and the Club expects him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement.”

Striker Torres, 26, is under contract at Liverpool until 2013. However he is widely reported to have a buy-out clause in his deal which will allow him to leave if another team matches his 50-million-pound valuation.

The clause was believed to have been inserted as a concession to Torres after Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions League last season amid uncertainty over the club’s ownership.

Chelsea, who are believed to have tabled a similar bid for the player last summer, had been told that the Spanish international was not for sale, Liverpool said in a statement on its website on Friday.

“Chelsea have made a bid for Fernando which has been turned down,” a Liverpool spokesman said. “The player is not for sale.”

Newspaper reports earlier put Chelsea’s bid at 35 million pounds.

The fact that Torres would be eligible for Chelsea’s Champions League campaign this season may persuade the English double-winners to increase their bid to the 50-million-pound mark.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is expected to overhaul Chelsea’s ageing squad, where a number of stalwarts such as Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry are nearing the end of their careers at Stamford Bridge.

Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti declined to comment on Friday when asked about the club’s bid for Torres.

“I don’t want to speak about this, you will have to ask the club. He is not my player and I have to have respect for Liverpool. I don’t like to speak about this,” said Ancelotti before praising Chelsea’s activity in the January window.

“I am happy because the club is doing a fantastic job in this transfer market. The club is trying to do everything to improve the squad.”

After a difficult start to the season, Torres appears to have been revitalised under new Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, netting three goals in his last four appearances for the Reds.

Liverpool meanwhile confirmed Friday they have agreed a deal with Dutch side Ajax to sign Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.

The English giants will pay a fee of up to 26.5 million euros (22.8 million pounds) subject to the player passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

Suarez’s much-anticipated move to Merseyside had been held up after the two clubs had failed to reach agreement on a transfer fee.

However 24-year-old Suarez had spoken enthusiastically about the prospect of a move to England, telling The Sunday Times in an interview last week that he believed he could emulate the success of Carlos Tevez in the Premier League.

“(England) is a league that attracts me, a country where the football is really good,” said Suarez, who notoriously committed a goal-line handball which saved Uruguay from elimination in the World Cup against Ghana last year.

“Alongside the Spanish league it is the best in the world. In England you have a lot of clubs with aspirations to become champions and they are also very strong in the Champions League at the European level.”

Suarez has been a prolific scorer in the Dutch championship, scoring 111 goals in 159 matches since joining Ajax from Groningen in 2007.

But controversy is never far away with the Uruguayan having just completed a seven-match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder in a league match in November.

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