Liverpool FC, coming to grips with the possible loss of their defrocked talisman Fernando Torres, have set a price for their Spanish striker. It's not reasonable, considering Torres's age and fragility, but given who's on the other side of the table, it's possible they'll get something close to it. After all, their potential partner is Chelsea FC, and when Roman Abramovich wants something, he tends to get it, even if it's a Ukranian whose (lack of) work rate and physicality failed to meet the standards of an English Premier League striker.
According to BBC reports on Sunday, Liverpool wants the equivalent of £50 million for Torres, though they're willing to be flexible. Citing a source within Anfield, the BBC says that Liverpool would accept £40 million plus Nicolas Anelka. If Chelsea is serious about overpaying for Torres, they should snap at that second offer, telling Damien Comolli, "So to lower the fee, you're willing to take this old guy, on large wages, who we're looking to replace with your guy?"
"You drive a hard bargain, sir." And, handshake. Of course, the only problem is getting Anelka to agree to a return to Anfield, where he had a loan spell in 2002. "I can go to Liverpool, or I can stay in Champions League and a title race while collecting my huge paychecks?" Seems an easy enough decision.
But the takeaway message from the BBC reports is not speculation about the thoughts of Damien Comolli or Nicolas Anelka. The takeaway: Liverpool is willing to negotiate, and while £50 million is near unjustifiable for a player that is no longer on the upward arc of his career - a player who is notoriously fragile - it may well be the going rate for a perceived top striker. And with Didier Drogba both aging and possibly sold come summer, this deal makes sense for both sides.
And, they're not so far apart.