Liverpool’s are holding talks with with Atletico Madrid as they look to secure the signing of Spain striker Fernando Torres.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo claims Liverpool have not tabled a bid for the 23-year-old Spain striker, but according to reports, talks are ongoing.

Atletico are reluctant to sell, but Torres is believed to be keen to play for Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and a deal worth £27m is in the offing. The latest speculation suggests that Djibril Cisse is being offered in part exchange for the 23-year-old striker.

According to a report in today’sSun newspaper the bid is being held up by the striker’s £2.5m pay-off clause. Torres is entitled to 10 per cent of any fee and Atletico insist Liverpool should pay it, while Liverpool believe the payment should come out of the overall transfer fee.

Torres has been frequently linked with a move to England, particularly with Arsenal and Chelsea, but Liverpool are now believed to be frontrunners for his signature.

The signing would represent a significant coup for Benitez, who has complained in the past about the lack of financial backing he has received from the Anfield board.

Atletico had earlier played down Liverpool’s interest, with president Cerezo saying: “We’ve had no offer from Liverpool for Torres. He’s on his holiday and resting.

“I repeat that there has been nothing about Torres from any team. We’re now working to create a good team for the coming year.”

Torres scored 14 league goals in 36 starts this season as Atletico finished seventh in La Liga.