How do you respond to your best player saying he wants to leave?

Why, by making a bid for your local rivals’ best player, of course.

The Daily Telegraph, usually that most demure of journals, goes balls out with the claim that Manchester United are all set to make a bid for Fernando Torres.

Oh yes.

The paper reports that the club have been given ‘encouragement’ that Torres might want to leave Anfield, and will ‘test their resolve’ (The Telegraph have been taking tips from the tabs here) with a bid as early as January.

United are also looking at both Karim Benzema, with the Glazers ‘acutely aware of the necessity to replace Wayne Rooney with another stellar name should the England forward leave.’

The Times are also turning their attentions to a replacement for Rooney, and come up with a couple of slightly less sensational candidates, but fine candidates nonetheless.

They report that Wolfsburg bruiser Edin Dzeko could ‘fit in well’ at Old Trafford, while Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero could also be an option.

The paper also claims that a ‘safer alternative’ could be Fernando Llorente, although quite how a 25-year-old forward who has never played outside his home country and never in the Champions League could be described as a safe option is unclear.