British transfer record smashed twice

LONDON - The British transfer record was smashed twice on Monday as Liverpool sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea but raided Newcastle United for an immediate replacement in the shape of burly England front-man Andy Carroll.

The two strikers, together with Benfica defender David Luiz who also joined Chelsea on deadline day, took spending in the final hour of the transfer window to around 100 million pounds as the club's owners flexed their financial muscles.

Torres cost Chelsea a widely reported 50 million pounds - a new British record by quite a margin - after the 22-year-old Carroll signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Liverpool, his fee reported to be 35 million pounds.

Carroll will not have to fill the hole left by the 26-year-old Torres alone, however, after Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish also completed the signing of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez from Ajax for a further 26.5 million euros.

Torres could face Liverpool in a blue Chelsea shirt on Sunday when the sides meet in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge and should expect a frosty reception from the Liverpool fans who idolised him after his 2007 move from Atletico Madrid.

"This is a big step forward in my career to join a club like Chelsea," Torres, who netted 81 times in 142 games for Liverpool, told Chelsea's television channel.

"They are one of the biggest teams in Europe and are always fighting for everything and it's a target for every footballer to play for one of the top clubs in the world.

"I'm happy that I am. I am very happy with my transfer to Chelsea and I am looking forward very much to helping my new team mates this season and for many years to come."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reminded the football world of his spending power after some belt-tightening in the last couple of seasons and displayed his support for under-fire manager Carlo Ancelotti, who led the club to the double in 2009/10.

"Signing a player of the stature of Fernando Torres benefits the club on many levels," Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay told the club's website.

"Carlo Ancelotti was keen to add his talents to the squad as we continue our quest for three trophies this season, we are delighted we have succeeded with that wish, and this signing will undoubtedly aid the club in realising our worldwide potential - on and off the pitch."

Liverpool's new American owner John Henry also made a statement of intent - backing Kenny Dalglish and averting a fans' backlash that would have followed had Torres left and not been adequately replaced.


Dalglish will hope that Suarez, who will wear the number seven shirt that the Scot and Kevin Keegan also graced, makes an instant impact and can forge a partnerhip with England striker Carroll to salvage something from a dismal season.

Carroll, who has scored 11 league goals for Newcastle this season and earned an England call-up, may have to wait to make his debut, though, having been sidelined with a thigh injury.

When trading closed on Monday, England's Premier League clubs had spent more than 200 million pounds in January, a new record despite the economic woes afflicting the country.

However, apart from the goings on at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, there were few other meaty deals done on deadline day.

Arsenal were quiet while Manchester City settled for the signing of Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko earlier in the month.

Tottenham Hotspur, striving to break back into the top four, attempted a late swoop for Blackpool's highly-rated playmaker Charlie Adam but were unsuccessful.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa signed U.S. international midfielder Michael Bradley on loan from Germany's Borussia Moenchengladbach while allowing Stephen Ireland to go on loan to Newcastle.

Earlier in the month Villa broke their own transfer record when they signed Darren Bent from Sunderland for a fee that could top out at 24 million pounds.