Eurosport - Mon, 26 Jul 08:51:00 2010
Roy Hodgson's admission that Fernando Torres is not totally happy at Liverpool will be music to Manchester City's ears.
Hodgson has spoken on several occasions of the "disenchantment" at the club where he replaced Rafael Benitez at the start of the month, and it seems Torres is no exception.
He said: "Unfortunately, I cannot do much more. His beef is with the club and not me.
"Fernando's situation has nothing to do with me, he made that perfectly clear over the phone during the
"He knows what I would like to do with the club. He knows how much I value him. But his issues are with what has gone on in the past rather than the future."
Aside from the slightly amusing usage of urban slang from a man in his 60s, those words will strike fear into the hearts of Liverpool fans. They may have already made their peace with Javier Mascherano's potential exit, and while Steven Gerrard announcing his has no intention of quitting is a major boost, the skipper is not quite the player he once was.
Torres, recent injury problems and a disappointing World Cup aside, is unquestionably one of the world's top players, and at 26 still has his best years ahead of him. Without him, Liverpool's status as the Premier League's seventh best team would be under major threat.
For all their obscene spending power, City are a club that do a fine line in snapping up players who have burned their bridges at previous clubs. Robinho, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Barry all arrived without the wholehearted best wishes of their former employers. Even World Cup winner David Silva was sold by Valencia because were so desperate for the cash, not because the winger had always dreamt of playing Eastlands.
City may be the richest club in the world, but they still lack the pulling power necessary to attract a bona fide star signing, as their embarrassing pursuit of Kaka last year proved.
The close-season signings of Silva, Jerome Boateng and Yaya Toure are all decent acquisitions, but whether they are the big hitters needed to take City to the next level remains to be seen.
The capture of Torres would, however, go a long way to lifting the side towards becoming title contenders and lay down a real marker to the rest of the football world, and doesn't Roberto Mancini know it.
Given little time to do much more than sign Patrick Vieira on a free in January, Mancini can finally be let loose with the club's coffers this summer. It's just a shame he seems intent on spending so much of it on the horrendously over-priced James Milner.
That's not to say that he's completely taken his eyes off the highly-prized striker from down the road, though. When asked about the possibility of poaching the forward from Anfield while on his club's pre-season tour of the USA, he said: "Torres is one of the best strikers in Europe and is already playing in the Premier League for three years and knows it very well. But it depends on his situation - his price and whether he wants to come.
"When Manchester City enquire about a £10million player, the club asks for £20million. That is not good for us."
If Torres's 'beef' with Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett proves to do for his tenure at the club, then City have both the financial might to tempt the club bosses into selling and the ambition to convince Torres that he can still win the club silverware his talents deserve without moving house.
For the time being they should forget about silverware, titles and Champions League football. f they are to be seen as a credible force, then this is just the kind of signing they would need to make.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I would be a liar if I said it was the perfect way to prepare for the new season, because it is not. If I had my way, I'd be in Scotland or go down to Devon and play Plymouth, Torquay or Exeter." - Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp admits he would rather take his players to the West Country in a caravan than touring the USA following their 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon in New York.
FOREIGN VIEW: "He will be a sensation in the Bundesliga. He will be an important player for us and will give a lot to the team." - Schalke manager Felix Magath all but confirms that Real Madrid legend Raul will be joining them. The veteran striker is due to announce his departure from the Bernabeu later today.
COMING UP: Paul Parker will be filing his latest blog later today, and there is live scoring of league action from Ireland, Sweden and Romania as well as all the day's tennis matches.