Another day, another twist in the ongoing saga of whether or not Liverpool will part ways with striker Luis Suárez. Just two weeks ago, it seemed as if the Reds had missed their best chance to move on from the talented but troubled Suárez after the team turned down a £30 million offer from Arsenal.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ resolve was tested again last week when Arsenal came back with a transfer bid of £40 million plus £1. But the Reds still said no.
Now, with the start of the Premier League season less than three weeks away, it is looking at least possible that Arsenal may need to acquire Suárez and that it may come at Liverpool’s asking price of more than £50 million.
The Gunners find themselves in this position after seeing Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain change his mind about coming to London, instead opting to move to Napoli (who needed to fill a hole left by the departure of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain).
As Greg Howard pointed out at Deadspin, this leaves Arsenal in a tough position. After watching Neymar sign with Barcelona, Radamel Falcao move to AS Monaco, Zlatan Ibrahimović sign with Paris Saint-Germain, and Stevan Jovetić join Manchester City, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks to be left with just one option to improve the club.
That’s where Liverpool and Suárez come in, as Suárez is the only big-talent striker (potentially) on the market. That means Rodgers and Liverpool might have Arsenal right where they want them.
As the days count down to the start of the season, if Wenger and Arsenal start to get desperate and continue to up their offer, it may become a moot point whether or not Liverpool wants to sell – every player can be had at a certain price.
For his part, Wenger said that he does not expect to be making any announcements soon about acquiring any new players.
“There is nothing to say (on the Suárez deal),” Wenger told ESPN. “I have been away now for two or the weeks and it’s hard to see how things are advanced because everyone is on tour at the moment and it’s very difficult to get in touch with people.
“We are ready to do quick deals but all the transfers do not depend only on us. We are prepared to wait. It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup (next weekend), but we still have a strong squad.”
It seems unlikely that Arsenal, which has spent just £9 million NET, taking into consideration sales,total on transfers in the past 10 years, would be willing to come up with more than £50 million for a single player, but we could have said the same thing when they offered £30 million and they came back with a higher bid.
It appears that Liverpool is playing this one smart. The Reds don’t have to sell Suárez; he may not like it if he opens the season at Anfield (after he serves the rest of his suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, of course), but there are ways around that.
Rodgers can tell Suárez to suck it up, reminding him that the club has stood behind him to a fault for his on-field shenanigans. Or they could give him a bump in pay, which, surprisingly, can often go a long way in soothing a player’s hurt feelings.
Club officials are sticking to the position that they have no intention of selling Suárez, with managing director Ian Ayre telling The Guardian that, “The situation with Luis Suárez remains the same. It’s never been our intention to sell Luis.”
If Liverpool sticks to its guns and Arsenal walks away, then worst-case is the Reds hold on to a player who scored 23 goals in 33 games last season. If Arsenal meets their price, then they can move on and have the funds needed to improve the club.
The flipside, though, is if Liverpool were to let Suárez go, they would then be in the same boat the Arsenal currently finds themselves in as there would not be anyone out there worth buying who could make up for the loss of Suárez on the offensive end.
Suárez brings so much nonsense to the pitch with him that it has become easy to overlook just how talented he can be. If he goes, it may be better for the team long-term, as long as they don’t squander the money like they did when they sold Fernando Torres, but the short-term could be pretty ugly.
Whichever way this story goes, there’s no doubt the next few weeks should be very interesting.