Call it sensationalist horsesh*t if you wish, but splashed across the backpage of this morning’s Daily Mirror (which is, granted, not a newspaper that tends to let the facts stand in the way of a good story) is an EXCLUSIVE report on how both Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina are ‘ready to quit Liverpool in January thanks to secret escape clauses in their contracts’.
I’ll allow you a quick interval for a chin-scratch or two…now let’s read on…
“The Spain internationals made the get-out agreements with their Anfield bosses [Hicks and Gillett] in the summer when they were persuaded to stay despite the departure of Spanish boss Rafa Benitez.
Now Torres and Reina, key to Roy Hodgson’s attempts to steer the club away from the relegation zone, want out after promises of major team investment went unfulfilled.”
Two world class professionals playing in a side that was/is dying on the vine, took steps to safeguard their immediate futures by insisting on ‘safety nets’ being inserted into their contracts – seems a fair enough sentiment to me.
It is also not particularly far-fetched to suggest that former managing director Christian Purslow may have ‘bent the truth’ in order to keep hold of Torres over the summer with promises of riches unbound before vacating his post recently.
Hodgson has spent upwards of £25 million since arriving in but his acquisitions (except, theoretically, that of Joe Cole) have been rooted in the ‘prosaic’ rather than ‘marquee’ mould – and if the comments made by NESV owner John W Henry yesterday are anything to go by, it seems that there won’t be an significant outlay made in the foreseeable future, at least until the summer market opens up in July.
The Mirror continues:
“Both [players] were upset at the lack of investment, the club’s failure to secure Champions League status and the grim reality of their Premiership title hopes.
Torres was eventually persuaded to remain at Liverpool after three days of talks – during which the delegation described in detail plans laid out specifically by Purslow. Torres was told the new owners – that were not identified to him – were in place and days away from completing the Liverpool takeover.
It is claimed he was told Roy Hodgson’s appointment was a temporary measure and a big name manager was already lined up – armed with a £100 million transfer kitty offered as a ‘quick fix’ to drag the club back on terms with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
It is understood Liverpool planned to spend £50 million in the summer with a further £50 million available in January for targets no longer chasing Champions League ambitions.
Torres and Reina reluctantly agreed to stay at Anfield – but only on condition they each had an escape clause written into their contracts.”
Quite how the Mirror were privvy to all this ‘secret’ information is beyond me – they must have better sources than Heinz, although strangely none of them seem to be directly referred to.
Anywhom, whereas it is easy to rubbish the story as exploitative hackjob fodder designed to further milk the ailing situation that Liverpool Football Club currently finds itself in, it’s hard to no side with the basic nub of the underlying pretense.
What with the pub team-style football, the various reneged promises, the general stench of decay that has descended over Anfield of late (it’s going to take more than one win over Blackburn to turn things round) and the fact that the squad is permeated with the kind of bog-standard talent that a top Premier League club wouldn’t touch with a barge pole – is it really that hard to envisage both Torres and Reina will eventually walking out of the club, if not in January then in August?