Football

Fernando Torres eyed as Mario Balotelli replacement

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AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani held talks with the representatives of Fernando Torres yesterday and is considering the Chelsea striker as a cut-price replacement for Liverpool-bound Mario Balotelli

That is according to Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, who believes Milan would like the much-maligned Spanish poacher on loan to help compensate for the loss of Balotelli, who arrived on Merseyside for a medical ahead of a proposed £16m move to Liverpool last night.

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Torres is facing a season on the sidelines as cover for Chelsea's new £32m strike star Diego Costa, but could still get a chance to revitalise his career in Serie A before the transfer window slams shut next Monday.

Rossoneri forced into action

Galliani has got five forwards in mind on a small shortlist of players he feels can cover for Balotelli's imminent departure, and also appease beleaguered Milan fans who have endured a torturous 12 months of malaise at the San Siro.

Porto hitman Jackson Martinez tops the list but would only be available at a premium price, which means Torres and even Manchester United marksman Javier Hernandez are viable alternatives.

Further down the list are Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado and wiry Colombian forward Luis Muriel have also been mentioned, but Torres is a strong option and as a result Galliani has already touched base over a late move for the once feared finisher.

Wages will be a sticking point

Torres currently earns a quite astonishing £175,000-a-week at Stamford Bridge, an eye-watering figure which has hampered Mourinho's attempts to offload a peripheral figure and bring in genuine competition for Costa's starting spot.

Milan are in the same boat as Roma, another club very interested in taking Torres on a season-long loan.

Both Serie A giants are keen but can't dream of paying that salary, which means either Chelsea pay a large chunk of his wages to play elsewhere or Torres agrees to take a sizeable pay cut.

Talks are at a very early stage but expect this proposed deal to progress very quickly one way or the other early next week, when Balotelli is expected to confirm his Liverpool move and finally force Milan to spend some money on a new striker, all in the final few days of the summer transfer window.

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Topics:
Football
Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur
Fernando Torres
Chelsea
Premier League

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