Torres joins Chelsea for British-record fee

London, Feb 1 (AP) Fernando Torres joined Chelsea fromLiverpool for a reported 50 million pounds (USD 79.5 million)today, a British-record transfer fee on the final day of thebiggest spending January transfer window for English clubs.

More than 215 million pounds (USD 345 million) was spentthis month by Premier League teams, smashing the previousbiggest outlay of 181 million pounds (USD 290 million) in 2009despite Britain being currently in the midst of a severeeconomic downturn.

Liverpool replaced Torres by breaking the club''s transferrecord twice in the space of a few hours to bring in AndyCarroll from Newcastle and Luis Suarez from Ajax - for acombined fee of 58 million pounds (USD 93 million).

"I am very happy with my transfer to Chelsea and I amlooking forward very much to helping my new teammates thisseason and for many years to come," said Torres, a World Cupwinner with Spain last year and the scorer of the only goal inthe European Championship final against Germany in 2008.

Chelsea also spent a reported 25 million pounds (USD 40million) to sign Brazil defender David Luiz from Portugueseside Benfica, bringing the total figure of those fourtransfers alone to 133 million pounds (USD 213 million).

Previous transfers this month have seen Edin Dzeko joinManchester City from Wolfsburg for about 27 million pounds(USD 42 million) and Darren Bent move to Aston Villa fromSunderland for a fee that could rise to 24 million pounds(USD 38.5 million).

This month''s outlay easily eclipsed the 30 million pounds(USD 48 million) spent by English clubs in the 2010 Januarywindow. The rest of Europe generally settled for loan signingstoday.

Chelsea''s amazing outlay of about 75 million pounds (USD120 million) came on the day the club announced losses of 70.9million pounds (USD 113.7 million) last season, despitewinning the Premier League and FA Cup.

Torres'' move from Liverpool is the third most expensivetransfer in the history of world football, bettered only byReal Madrid''s purchases of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in 2009.

It is similar to the fee reportedly paid to Inter Milan byBarcelona the same year for Zlatan Ib rahimovic, with SamuelEto''o joining the Italian club as part of that deal.

Such was the frenzied activity at Liverpool, comfortablythe busiest mover on deadline day, that the club even had totemporarily change the page layout of its website to safeguardits stability. The Reds had unprecedented levels of traffic onthe site, with 1.1 million fans having visited it by 2200 GMT,generating a record 8.5 million page impressions. (More) APSHN

Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez was widely recognized as being the previous most expensive transferwithin British football after moving from Manchester Unitedfor about 47 million pounds in 2009. Former Bulgaria strikerDimitar Berbatov joined United for 30.75 million pounds in2008.

Liverpool first broke the British-record fee by signingCarroll for a reported 35 million pounds (USD 56 million)after the striker had a transfer request accepted byNewcastle. The Reds had earlier wrapped up the signing ofSuarez for euro26.5 million (USD 36 million).

Last week, the Reds turned down Torres'' request to leavethe team he joined for a then club-record 20.3 million pounds(then USD 40.6 million) from Atletico Madrid in 2007.

He now joins Chelsea''s star-studded attacking lineup thatincludes Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba and former Franceforward Nicolas Anelka.

After reining in his spending over the past couple ofyears, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich showed his club canstill be a big mover in the transfer market by signing Luiz tostrengthen the team''s defensive options.

Argentina star Sergio Aguero won''t be appearing on a listof record transfers anytime soon after he signed a newcontract with Atletico Madrid early today, ending any hopesTottenham or Chelsea had of signing him.

In other Premier League deals, United States midfielderMichael Bradley became Aston Villa''s fourth signing of thetransfer window - after Bent, Jean Makoun and on-loan KyleWalker - by joining the club on loan until the end of theseason from Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Villa has also sent Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland outon loan to Newcastle.

Blackburn signed Argentine playmaker Mauro Formica fromNewell''s Old Boys and Spanish striker Ruben Rochina fromBarcelona on 3-year deals, and struggling Birmingham broughtin Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins on a six-month loan dealfrom Rubin Kazan.

Wolfsburg started spending some of the money that ManCity paid for Dzeko this month, signing South Koreainternational Koo Ja-choel from Jeju United, teenager YohandryOrozco from Venezuelan club FC Zulia and Turkey forward TuncaySanli from Stoke.

Loan moves were common across Europe as teams soughtvalue and a close look at players before deciding whether tosign them permanently at the end of the season.

Brazil striker Andre joined Bordeaux from Dynamo Kiev ona six-month loan deal, while Villarreal loaned out wingerJefferson Montero t o Levante and Sevilla presented Chilemidfielder GaryMendel and Croatia international Ivan Rakitic.

In Italy, AC Milan announced it had acquired NicolaLegrottaglie from Juventus, signing the defender until the endof this season, and Juventus signed striker Alessandro Matrion loan from Cagliari. (AP) SHN

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