Torres cuts short holiday, set to join Liverpool

July 3, 2007

MADRID, July 2 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres is poised to complete a record-breaking move to Liverpool after cutting short a holiday to give the go-ahead to a reported £26.5 million deal.

Fernando Torres
Empics / JohnWaltonFernando Torres: £26.5m striker

'We are in conversations, but nothing has been signed yet,' Atletico President Enrique Cerezo told Onda Cero on Monday.

'The deal has not yet been finalised and Fernando Torres remains an Atletico Madrid player but that might change tomorrow.'

Spanish media reported that the 23-year-old international would undergo a medical on Tuesday prior to signing a six-year deal with the English Premier League club.

'I don't know when it will all happen,' said Cerezo who was reluctant to give any further details about the possible deal.

'All I can say is that Fernando Torres is a great player who is valued highly by many clubs and he has to think about his future. Whatever happens our fans will have to understand that it is for the good of the club.'

The move, should it go ahead at the reported figure, would be the highest transfer fee paid for a Spanish player, beating the £26.5 million Lazio paid Valencia for midfielder Gaizka Mendieta in 2001.

The future of the Atletico captain has been the subject of intense speculation since the end of the Spanish season.

The club's decision to sign Uruguay forward Diego Forlan from Villarreal at the weekend appeared to pave the way for the departure of Torres, who has become the leading figure at the club since he made his debut for the first team at 17.

Torres, who joined Atletico as an 11-year-old, has been the club's top scorer for the last five seasons, completing his most successful campaign in 2003-04 when he struck 19 goals.

Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia, who is expected to move in the opposite direction, arrived in Madrid on Monday to undergo a medical on his injured knee prior to a likely return to his former club.

'The two deals are not linked,' said Cerezo. 'Luis Garcia has always shown a willingness to return to Atletico and it now looks like that will happen.'