Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has admitted he is aware that Manchester United swooping might regard Fernando Torres as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, if the England striker does carry out his plan to quit Old Trafford.
England striker Rooney looks set to be on his way out of United after refusing to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, citing the club’s lack of ambition and failure to sign new players.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson could conceivably look at Torres as potential replacement, particularly since the Spanish striker has looked unhappy in a below-par Liverpool side this season.
“I am not naive enough to think there is no danger we will ever lose a player like Fernando Torres,” Hodgson said. “I can only hope we won’t and I will make certain I do everything in my power to keep him happy at the club, help him improve his current form and to get him playing for Liverpool as he has in the past.”
Torres has been rested for Thursday’s Europa League tie against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo but Hodgson could still not ignore questions about his misfiring striker.
Asked about the possible threat of a United bid he added: “I think I’d have to say we’d cross that bridge when we come to it. I am pretty sure when a great player like Wayne Rooney is looking to leave his club Manchester United will be in a position to target an awful lot of players around the world.
“I don’t think Fernando Torres would be the only player they will be targeting or [we would be] the only club worried their star striker is going to be a target. They will have the opportunity to replace him with many star strikers around the world, so all I can say is I am not naive to the situation.”