"Fernando Torres tonight submitted a written transfer request, which has been rejected by Liverpool. 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."
With the possible exception of a very small minority, the official statement released by Liverpool FC, was like a dagger in the heart of Liverpool fans everywhere. Yet not two weeks earlier Fernando Torres had come out in full support of Kenny Dalglish and avowed his allegiance to Liverpool Football Club.
There will be simplistic and populist arguments from many, ranging from, "there's no use in keeping a player that's unhappy" to "if they offer xxx amount then we should let him go..."
However, the issue is a lot, lot deeper than that and the last half of the second sentence in the official statement couldn't have been worded more perfectly, "...the Club expects him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed the agreement."
Liverpool FC is not just any club and we are not just any clubs supporters. First and foremost, letting Torres go to Chelsea would effectively be sending a message that we are no longer a force and we can be muscled into selling our players. It would be sending a message to Chelsea and the rest of the world that Liverpool are well and truly a spent force.
If Torres were to be sold to a team in La Liga or Serie A, the psychological repercussions would not be so great. Selling Torres to another Premier League Club, however, especially Chelsea, would be wrong on so many levels.
Accepting £40 million for Torres would convey a message that Liverpool FC can be bought for £40 million. We don't need the money. Yes, we could use the fee to go out and buy two or three world-class players, but that is not the point. It is so not the point.
The psychological edge that we only just managed to preserve during the past torrid months and that has just begun to increase with the appointment of Kenny Dalglish would be dealt a severe blow. Our aura of being one of the top and most feared teams in England would be diminished globally.
The only decision that should be taken is to tell Mr. Torres that he will either play for Liverpool or Liverpool Reserves, until his contract expires. Chelsea cannot have him because they want him and the club need to send that message out clearly. To put in "street" terms, "Don't mess with us, we're the big boys."
Fernando Torres' price as a player may be judged in monetary terms. The global reputation of Liverpool FC can not.