S'pore billionaire Lim rubbishes Torres link

Peter Lim Eng Hock

Contrary to British tabloid reports, Singapore businessman Peter Lim is not planning an audacious bid for Chelsea striker Fernando Torres to bring him to Spanish Primera Liga side Valencia.

The Daily Mirror claimed over the weekend that Lim, 60, will make Spain's World Cup winner a key signing if his proposed takeover of Valencia goes through.

Lim had made an offer for the financially-strapped Spanish La Liga club in December, with a promise to wipe out the club's €306 million (S$533 million) debt, and an additional €50 million for strengthening the team with new signings.

But a source close to the billionaire told The Straits Times: "There is no truth at all in the rumours linking Fernando Torres and Peter Lim."

The Daily Mirror had reported over the weekend that Torres, who has disappointed at Stamford Bridge since his British-record £50 million (S$105 million) transfer from Liverpool in 2011, has been the subject of enquiries made on behalf of Lim.

It was said Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has finally conceded the 29-year-old is never going to be a success at Stamford Bridge.

With Torres turning 30 next month, and with two years remaining on his deal, Abramovich believes this summer will be the last window in which they are able to recoup any significant sum for the player - with an asking price of around £13 million.

Torres is also thought to be keen on a return to Spain after failing to hit the heights at Chelsea, but that link has been denied by people close to Lim.

Lim has already signed two players in anticipation of his acquisition of Valencia. Earlier this month, Benfica striker Rodrigo Moreno, 22, and midfielder Andre Gomes, 20, were sold to a Hong Kong-based investment company called Meriton Capital, said to be owned by him.

Spaniard Moreno is valued at €30 million and Portuguese Under-21 international Gomes at €15 million.

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