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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Benitez: Torres could have cost £70m

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez claims the club had the chance to sell Fernando Torres last summer for £70 million.

Luis Suarez interview
• Llorente reveals Reds interest
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• Mascherano defends Torres after exit
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Hubbard: Reds break with recent past
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Torres provoked fury amongst Liverpool supporters when joining Chelsea for £50 million on transfer deadline day and will make his debut for the Blues on Sunday when his former club visit Stamford Bridge.

The striker's spokesman recently revealed he held talks with Chelsea about a summer move before Liverpool vetoed any deal, and now Benitez claims a transfer was mooted that would have seen Torres become the second most expensive footballer of all time.

"I think last year we were talking about £70 million," Benitez told the BBC's Football Focus. "People were talking about maybe you receive an offer from another club. They were talking about £70 million."

Of Torres' January move, Benitez added: "He was not playing at the same level the last time, but he is still a very good player. It is big money but could [have been] even better."

Benitez, who departed Inter at the turn of the year after a stormy six months in charge of the European champions, says he would consider returning to Anfield as manager at some point in the future.

The Spaniard was appointed by the club in 2004 and won the Champions League and the FA Cup before losing his job at the end of the 2009-10 season.

"To be manager of Liverpool is a dream for me. This time, I know that Kenny [Dalglish] is doing really well," he said. "I have to wait and keep watching games, but if you say to me in the future would you like to be manager, for sure, no doubt about this. When, that is the question. I have to move forward, anyway."

Meanwhile, Anfield icon Robbie Fowler has criticised Torres for his conduct in leaving the club on the final day of the transfer window.

Fowler, 35, currently represents Perth Glory and when taking part in a radio promotion to raise money for victims of the Queensland floods, wore a Torres No. 9 shirt in a 'Shirt that Hurt' event.

"There is nothing wrong with the front of the shirt but it's just the name on the back," Fowler said. "With what's happened this week, it's a shirt that not only myself but many Liverpool fans would rather not wear just yet.

"He didn't leave the club in great hands or great shape but thankfully they managed to go out and buy a couple of decent players.''

Fowler also wrote in his column in the West Australian newspaper: "There's something not quite right about the Spaniard's last-minute transfer to Chelsea. As a Liverpool fan it was disappointing to see Torres leave because on his day he's a world-class player and I want the best players at the club.

"But if I was a manager and a player said he didn't want to be at the club I'd try to get the best deal I could. Only a couple of weeks ago Torres was talking about how much he loved the fans and the club. He won't be getting a warm welcome next time he plays at Anfield."

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