On the back of Liverpool's recent signing of Luis Suarez, it was revealed that the club had rejected a £35 million transfer bid from Premier League rivals Chelsea for the services of star striker Fernando Torres.
Torres has since handed in a formal written transfer request in the hope of forcing through the transfer, but this request has been turned down by a Liverpool team seemingly determined to play financial hardball.
And Liverpool are right to do so. If Chelsea want Torres, they need to get him now. But not for football reasons. For financial ones.
UEFA, for the 2012 season, intend introducing "Financial Fair Play" rules that, taking into account debts and loans etc., would demand a club at least breaks even in its financial outlay over a three-year rolling period in order to qualify to play in a European tournament.
Chelsea wants David Luiz, who will cost them in excess of £25m, and Torres. The combined fees for these players will add to at least £60 million. Chelsea are a club currently operating at a loss of £44.4 million. This loss has been reducing yearly but is still a significant figure.
Once the UEFA rules are introduced, the amount of money spent by clubs on transfers will have to be closely monitored. A club like Chelsea, who cannot hope to be operating at a massive profit in the next three years, will be especially hamstrung by the new rules for the next few years.
They have endless resources in the pockets of Mr. Abramovich, but if they continue to operate at a loss they will dig themselves into a hole where they are spending far more than the club is making and will thus be eliminated them from European competition.
What this means is that Chelsea will want to get any big deals they plan to complete out of the way before this new legislation comes in. This means that it is massively in Chelsea's interests to sign Torres now instead of at the summer. And Liverpool know this.
If Chelsea do not get their man now, they may have to abandon hopes of signing him come the summer as his price will be too great for them to cover with what will at best be slight operating profits.
Liverpool can therefore charge Chelsea anything they want for Torres now, knowing that Chelsea have no real option except to either pay it now or forget about the deal. If they pay it, Liverpool could get a £50 million windfall for an unsettled player.
If they don't, Liverpool keep their star striker and retain the option to sell him in the summer to a profitable club like Real Madrid who will be able to afford such a deal even with the new UEFA laws.
Although Chelsea have phenomenal spending power, in this situation Liverpool hold all the aces.
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