Chelsea have completed the signing of Spain striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool in a deal reported to be worth a British record £50 million.
Torres has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract that puts his earnings on a par with the highest paid players at Stamford Bridge - such as captain John Terry and Frank Lampard.
His £50 million transfer dwarfs the £32.5 million that Manchester City paid for Robinho in the summer of 2008. In fact, only Kaka (£56 million, Milan to Real Madrid, 2009), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£56.5 million, Inter to Barcelona, 2009) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£80 million, Manchester United to Real Madrid, 2009) have cost more than Torres in the history of the game.
Torres joined Liverpool following a £20 million move from Atletico Madrid in 2007 and set a new record for the most prolific foreign goalscorer ever in a debut season in England, beating Ruud van Nistelrooy's 23 goals for Manchester United.
The 26-year-old scored 65 goals during his three year stay at Anfield and although he helped Liverpool finish second in the Premier League in the 2008-09 season, the club missed out on qualification for the Champions League last term and Torres leaves having failed to win a trophy.
That is something he will be hoping to put right at Stamford Bridge as the reigning Premier League champions look to defend their title and go one better than Chelsea's Champions League final appearance in 2008.
Speaking at Stamford Bridge after finalising the move, Torres, who was also pictured with a Chelsea shirt, said: "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. Having played against Chelsea many times since coming to England, and in some very big games I will never forget, I know there are many great players here and I will work hard to win a place in the team. I hope I can score some important goals for the supporters to enjoy this season."
"This is a very significant day for Chelsea, capturing one of the best players in the world with his peak years ahead of him," Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said. "We have long admired the talents of a player who is a proven goalscorer in English football and Fernando's arrival is a sign of our continuing high ambitious. I hope every Chelsea fan is as excited as I am with this news."
Blues chief executive Ron Gourlay added: "Signing a player of the stature of Fernando Torres benefits the club on many levels. 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 succeed with that wish, and this signing will undoubtedly aid the club in realising our worldwide potential."
Meanwhile, Liverpool have confirmed the loan signing of Coventry midfielder Conor Thomas, 17, with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the season.