Rafael Benitez, Liverpool's former Champions League winning manager, dropped a bombshell in revealing that a £70m deal for Fernando Torres, significantly higher than the £50m for which Chelsea bought him on Monday, had been rejected last year.
On an interview with BBC's Football Focus, Benitez, who brought Torres to Liverpool for £20m in 2007, said, I think last year we were talking about £70m. People were talking about maybe you receive an offer from another club. They were talking about £70 million.
Torres' transfer deadline day move to Chelsea left Anfield in a sunken feeling of betrayal, with fans displaying their anger by burning Torres shirts outside Liverpool's training ground Melwood.
He was not playing at the same level the last time, but he is still a very good player. It is big money but could (have been) even better. Benitez added.
Benitez, who was sacked by Italy's Inter Milan in December, added that he would keen for a second stint as Liverpool's manager sometime in the future. However, with current manager Kenny Dalglish improving Liverpool's results and signing new strikers in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, it seems like Dalglish is set for a long stay.
But Benitez said, To be manager of Liverpool is a dream for me. This time, I know that Kenny is doing really well. I have to wait and keep watching games, but if you say to me in the future would you like to be manager, for sure, no doubt about this. When, that is the question. I have to move forward, anyway.
Elsewhere, Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler, who currently plays for Australian side Perth Glory, criticized Torres in his column in the West Australian newspaper.
Fowler wrote, There's something not quite right about the Spaniard's last-minute transfer to Chelsea. As a Liverpool fan it was disappointing to see Torres leave because on his day he's a world-class player and I want the best players at the club.
But if I was a manager and a player said he didn't want to be at the club I'd try to get the best deal I could. Only a couple of weeks ago Torres was talking about how much he loved the fans and the club. He won't be getting a warm welcome next time he plays at Anfield.