Barca shocked by English spending spree

GENEVA - Chelsea paid too much for Fernando Torres and Barcelona would 'not even consider' such a 50 million pound deal, the Spanish club's director of football said on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Spain international striker, who scored 65 goals in 102 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, swapped clubs on the last day of the transfer window last week.

However Torres failed to score on his debut for Chelsea against Liverpool in their 1-0 defeat on Sunday. Between them, Chelsea and Liverpool were involved in 135 million pounds worth of deals last Monday.

"I was shocked by the amount spent, especially in the winter time. I felt the amount was very high," Raul Sanllehi told Reuters at the Annual General Meeting of the European Clubs Association.

"I know Barcelona would not do that sort of signing now, we would not even consider it."

"Of course we have a budget, but a budget is like a blanket if you pull it up to your chin, you need your feet to stay warm," he added.

"An additional value of those signings was that Chelsea diminished one of their opponents at the same time as strengthening their own team.

"So Chelsea got stronger and Liverpool got weaker, even though Liverpool won the game against them on Sunday. But in my personal opinion, Torres was over-priced."


Liverpool spent around 55 million pounds on Andy Carroll from Newcastle United and Luis Suarez from Ajax Amsterdam, while Chelsea spent more than 70 million pounds on Torres and David Luiz from Benfica.

Carroll's 35 million pounds move was a British record, until surpassed by the Torres deal later in the day.

Barcelona did spend a huge amount in 2009 when they bought Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan for 46 million euros, allowing Samuel Eto'o to move in part-exchange.

Sanllehi said Barca did not now have that sort of money to spend and needed to accept shirt sponsorship for the first time after a loss of 79 million euros in 2009-10, contributing to debts of 430 million euros.

Their biggest outlay in January was for PSV Eindhoven's Ibrahim Afellay who cost them around 3 million euros.

Barcelona, he added, needed to strike a deal with the Qatar Foundation to help them balance their books. Previously Barcelona paid UNICEF for the right to wear their logos on their shirts.

"Let's not fool ourselves, we needed the money for the Qatar deal. We wouldn't have done it without a lot of money involved for sure.

"Thats what our president said. I would understand that, the need for funds was a clear driver for the whole thing."