This looks light becoming the summers’ ugliest transfer saga as Liverpool striker Luis Suarez continues to try and force his way out of Liverpool FC.
He has made his desire to leave public on many occasions during this summer. Arsenal are the only club who have confirmed that they have made a bid for Suarez. Liverpool have said all along through manager, Brendan Rogers, that they wanted to keep Suarez and now the directors have spoken out saying that he will not be sold to such a close rival.
This saga has the potential to get very messy. Suarez did an interview with The Guardian this week and launched an attack on Liverpool. He claimed that the only reason he stayed at Liverpool last summer was “on the understanding that if we (Liverpool) failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season (2012-2013) I’d be allowed to go”. Liverpool have failed to qualify and now he wishes to pursue a club that will play in the Champions League. There is a sense of irony that he wishes to move to Arsenal who are yet to have their Champions League qualification confirmed.
Suarez’s choice of words all summer have been very odd. At the beginning of the summer he voiced his intention to leave Anfield as he wanted to leave England and the English media. At the time it was rumoured that Real Madrid were strongly interested in signing Suarez so his words made sense as he may have been trying to force a deal through. Madrid have so far shown no public interest in Suarez and have made Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale their priority in a world record transfer bid. Since then Suarez has totally changed his tune in saying that he wants to leave Liverpool for Champions League football, and would be willing to stay in England.
“I spoke with Brendan Rodgers several times and he told me: ‘Stay another season, and you have my word if we don’t make it then (into the Champions League) I will personally make sure that you can leave.'”, said Suarez, making very serious accusations. He also added that “they (Liverpool) gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honour that. And it is not just something verbal with the coach but something that is written in the contract”. Suarez really put all of his cards on the table in this interview. He made it clear that he is desperate to leave but all of these details about agreements and contracts show that this may not finish amicably in any way.
The words are clear from the Suarez camp but Liverpool have since come out and held firm in their stance that Suarez is not for sale. Owner John Henry said it would be “ludicrous” to sell Suarez to Arsenal, taking into account that they one of their biggest rival clubs in terms of league position. Liverpool are aiming to become a ‘top 4’ club and the loss of Suarez to a rival could prove detrimental to their aspirations. “It’s not about finances. So late in the window… we can’t replace him. So for football reasons we can’t sell, and especially to Arsenal”, were further words from Henry and it will be interesting to see if this stance is held.
If Suarez’s words are true, then Liverpool will find it hard to keep him. This mystery ‘clause’ that we heard so much about all summer could prove to be very problematic. Suarez and his camp seem to understand that there is a release clause for £40 million but Liverpool seem to think different. Suarez has said that he will go to the Premier League to try and force a deal through. When moving to Ajax, Suarez took his former club Groningen to court to force his move through and it’s worrying to think that a scenario like this could unfold between two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs. It certainly wouldn’t look good for the league and the English game.
It’s hard to imagine that there won’t be many more twists and turns in this transfer saga, and also those of Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney. Time is running out for all clubs in the transfer window. The most alarming thing for the selling clubs here is the lack of top quality players that are available. In terms of strikers, the likes of Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao have transferred to clubs in France and Gonzalo Higuain has gone to Napoli. There aren’t many world-class attackers available so a sale at this stage of the window would make finding replacements very difficult. English clubs have money to spend but the players don’t seem to be available and a frustrating summer looks set to continue.