Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Torres signing "a statement of intent", says Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard claims the record transfer fee paid for Spanish international Fernando Torres is a "statement of intent" to the club's main rivals.The England midfielder says the arrival of Torres, who joined from Atletico Madrid for a fee in excess of £20 million, should send a message to teams like Chelsea and Manchester United that the Reds will be in the hunt for the Premiership next season.Recent years have seen the Merseysiders' league campaigns derailed within the first few weeks of the season after falling too far behind the leaders.But Gerrard says the club's increasing transfer activity this summer will bolster the squad from the first game onwards to enable them to challenge the expensive sides assembled by Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson."Since I've been in the first team I can't remember us making such a major statement of intent in the transfer market as this," he said of the Torres deal."In recent years it's only really been Manchester United and Chelsea buying players around the £20-million mark, so it's great to see us able to compete for players of that kind of value."Gerrard hailed the influence of the club's new American co-owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – who he said had continued the Anfield tradition of investing in the team."The Liverpool board has always backed the manager and we've invested heavily over the years," he continued."Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier spent a lot of money, but we've all been looking for that extra step to close the gap and attract the kind of players United and Chelsea are able to afford."This is the first summer in a long time we've been able to do that."We're looking in great shape, not only going into this season, but for the next few years."

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