Chelsea give up on Torres and could offer him in Falcao swap
Eslewhere Villa striker Christian Benteke declares his love for Arsenal
ROMAN ABRAMOVICH has finally admitted that he got it wrong and will call time on the Chelsea career of £50m flop Fernando Torres, and give boss Roberto di Matteo the funds to buy a replacement in the form of Radamel Falcao.
According to the Daily Mail the Colombian striker is also wanted by Manchester City and Real Madrid, but Chelsea are now set to make Athletico Madrid a concrete offer.
Abramovich had hoped Torres would rediscover the scintillating form he showed for Liverpool and which persuaded him to smash the British transfer record to sign him in 2011. However he has managed just four league goals this season and was poor against his old club at the weekend, and Chelsea's Russian owner has run out of patience.
But Torres could still be crucial to any deal to bring Falcao to Stamford Bridge. The Spaniard arrived at Liverpool from Atletico in 2007 and his old club would love to have him back. If Chelsea offer Torres in part exchange for Falcao it could help push the deal through.
Aston Villa were said to be "rocked" last night after Christian Benteke said he wanted to play for Arsenal. The 21-year-old Belgian striker joined Villa in the summer in a £7m deal from Genk, but according to The Sun it was nothing more than a "stepping-stone to Arsene Wenger's Gunners".
Benteke, a regular in the Belgium national team, has netted four times so far this season, but it appears he's merely killing time until Arsenal come calling: "Arsenal are the club I love," he tells The Sun. "I'm not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal." Asked why he joined Villa when his heart is clearly Arsenal's, Benteke replied: "I didn't know where they played. I thought they were a London club!"
And on the subject of a potential move to the Emirates, the young Belgian frontman said only: "I'm a Villa player for now. They're the right club at the right time."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed claims that the Reds could offload Luis Suarez to Manchester City in January. One or two of the more excitable newspapers reported yesterday that the Sky Blues were confident of landing the South American striker for £40m, but Rodgers rushed to nip the idle gossip in the bud.
"He's certainly not someone we want to sell or move on," Rodgers is quoted as saying in the Metro. The Liverpool manager then declared he was satisfied Suarez was committed to remaining at Anfield, saying: "He is very, very happy here. There will be no bidding war. He is staying."
Porto winger Christian Atsu says he won't be accepting the advances of either Chelsea or Tottenham in January, instead preferring to stay in Portugal. The 20-year-old Ghana international has caught the eye of the Premier League pair after some sizzling performances this season, but he has used an interview with Portuguese rag Record to set the record straight.
"I am very happy at Porto because the club is like family to me," said Atsu. "To continue at Porto is a dream for me and I hope to finish this year with a contract renewal. According to my agent, we are doing well in negotiations and I do not care about the rumours from abroad."
French website Le 10Sport claims that Newcastle United are poised to make a play in the New Year for Marseille forward Loic Remy. So keen are the Magpies to bring Remy to St James' Park that manager Alan Pardew will reportedly offer the French outfit midfielder Sylvain Marveaux as part of any deal.
Newcastle are cautiously optimistic that Marseille will agree to the deal seeing that the 25-year-old Remy has struggled to nail down a place so far this season under new boss Elie Baup, who replaced Didier Deschamps at the helm in the summer.
Celtic's teenage prodigy Tony Watt has put an end to speculation linking him with a move south by signing a new four-year deal with the Bhoys. The 18-year-old striker has been eyed up by several Premier League clubs in the wake of his goalscoring exploits against Barcelona last week.
Watt scored the winner for Celtic in the 2-1 Champions League defeat of the Spanish giants, but Goal.com reports that he's happy to stay in Glasgow until at least 2016.
"The last couple of weeks have been incredible and to sign the contract just a week after scoring against Barcelona is brilliant," said the Scotland Under-21 striker.