Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea owner Abramovich jets out for Liverpool's £60m man Torres

By Graham Luney

Chelsea are stepping up their chase for Fernando Torres by lining up a £60million bid for the Liverpool striker.

Torres is staying focused on Spain’s World Cup semi-final showdown with Germany tomorrow night, but his club future is far from certain.

It is understood that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has flown to South Africa to try to secure the signing of Torres for a British-record fee.

Abramovich is happy to spend big to bring the best talent to Stamford Bridge and Torres is now his top target.

Roy Hodgson’s arrival at Liverpool has been greeted with a muted response from the Anfield playing squad and Torres, along with midfielder Steven Gerrard, have refused to pledge their future to the club.

The Reds are heavily in debt and their under fire American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett may listen to a big money offer.

Torres’ form in the World Cup to date has been bitterly disappointing and he could even be axed for the Germany clash.

Germany supremo Joachim Low gave Spain the title yesterday but Cesc Fabregas — another Premier League star linked with a summer transfer — said their opponents, whom they vanquished 1-0 in the Euro 2008 final, were welcome to it. “If they want to be favourites, we will accept that,” he said.

“We just want to play the game, we want to be a strong team, we want to beat them, and we want to reach the final.

“They are a very strong side, probably the strongest side in the

tournament at the moment. It will be a very exciting game, two teams who play good football, so let's see who wins.”

Fabregas says he is prepared to have a pain-killing injection in his sore shoulder to be available. “It's painful but when you are up for it, it's fine,” he said.

“I am ready to get an injection in order to play. If (coach Vicente) Del Bosque needs me I'll be there.”

Fabregas sustained the injury in Saturday's quarter-final victory against Paraguay after coming on as a substitute shortly after half-time to replace Fernando Torres.

He spent most of Sunday evening's training session in the gym as a precautionary measure.

The pre-match skirmishes have seen Spain as the less voluble camp, the product perhaps of this being their first semi-final appearance and one which has brought them down a far rockier road that their opposition.

Vicente del Bosque's big decision is whether to remove Torres from the starting line-up and perhaps start with Fabregas in midfield.

Spain's fluidity after Torres had left the field and Fabregas arrived in the quarter-final against Paraguay was significant.

Belfast Telegraph


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