Transfer Balls: Arsenal offer £51m for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Brendan Rodgers just won’t shut up
TRANSFER Balls: News of Liverpool’s soon-to-be-former striker in the news media:
The front and back pages:
The i says Liverpool have told Suarez to train with the stiffs. How’s that for building team unity? On a positive note, the reserves will get better results.
The Mirror says Suarez has been “disgraced“. How? By claiming Brendan Rodgers broke a promise to sell him should Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions’ League, which they did? Rodgers says Suarez shows a “lack of respect”. But it depends which party you believe. One thing is certain: Suarez and Rodgers are not working in harmony.
Daniel Taylor takes a view:
Suárez being Suárez, the story is littered with imperfections. It does not seem to register that Liverpool, after the battering their reputation has taken, might deserve better than this kind of mutiny. There is no apparent shame, or even recognition, of all the times when he has expanded on why he will be staying at Anfield come what may, or any form of appreciation that some people actually believed it.
And it boils down to this: can we actually trust a single damn thing he says?…
For Liverpool, this is the cold reality of modern life. Suárez is just bringing it home what it is like to be permanently playing catch-up. And this, unfortunately for one of the great bastions of the sport, is what can happen when a club is approaching a quarter of a century since their last championship and finished 28 points and a country mile from the summit last time around. The best players want more. They don’t remember the days when Liverpool ruled. It’s history, another century.
And then there is Arsenal. They need a star.
There are two possible outcomes, say insiders. If they can get the two parties back around the table. Liverpool might swallow deeply and agree to sell at £50m. Arsenal were badly advised in being led to believe their £40m-plus-a-pound offer would automatically secure Suarez’s services. It remains to be seen if they will increase their offer now they know that interpretation is flawed.
If Liverpool refuse to be browbeaten into a sale, it could be that they agree to let Suarez leave for £40million a year from now, with a new clause inserted into his contract that is unequivocal.
After much provocation, getting Liverpool to sit down might be the difficulty. The club certainly are in no mood to see their best player leave just yet. As Steven Gerrard starkly pointed out, a Liverpool team without Suarez is a team that will find entry to the Champions League almost impossible.
The Telegraph writes Suarez’s classified advert:
Buyer beware: whoever signs Liverpool want-away striker Luis Suárez is getting a toxic cheat
Even by footballers’ cynical standards, Luis Suárez’s current contempt for his Liverpool team-mates, employers, supporters and profession is breath-taking if not entirely unexpected. A propensity for deceit seems ingrained in Suárez’s DNA. He’s toxic.
Steve Nicol, the former Reds great, has his own opinion:
“What has been written tells you that Suárez is actually an honourable guy. For all the things he did on the field, he honoured his contract. He played for Liverpool last season and gave everything. It seems to me that it is the other party that are not being honourable. I don’t think there is any reason for him to come out and say what he did unless it is right. He seems pretty factual in the words he has spoken. Brendan Rodgers seems to have said: ‘if we don’t [qualify for theChampions League] then I’ll personally make sure you can go’. That totally changes everything. It makes sense that Suárez hasn’t really said an awful lot before. You cannot promise anything to your players and not follow through. That is a huge problem and Brendan is probably wishing now he just kept out of it so that eventually it would be a battle between the people upstairs and Suarez’s entourage.”
The Times says this is a “new low”. And the more Rodgers talks in public about Suarez, the more you wonder why Liverpool let him. Says Rodgers:
“There were no promises made — categorically none — and no promises broken. The club and his representatives had several conversations and he knew exactly where he was at. I will take strong, decisive action. There has been total disrespect of the club. This is a club that is historically one of the biggest in the world and has given him everything, absolutely everything.”
Why is Rodgers so keen to emphasise the size of the club? It smacks of desperation, an emphasis on the glory that is now missing at Anfield. Suarez did not call Liverpool liars; he claimed Rodgers misled him. Rodgers says that’s untrue.
Suárez’s outburst was not the sole reason behind Rodgers making the 26-year-old train away from the first team. The manager had also been disappointed by the striker’s half-hearted efforts in recent friendly fixtures and in training sessions.
Rodgers hopes the punishment will remind Suárez of the levels of commitment and respect he expects from all players, standards that he feels the Uruguay striker has fallen well short of in recent weeks.
Sure. Good luck with that.
And Rodgers is still talking:
“The Liverpool way is all about a club with ambition, a club that always strives to be the very best. It’s about commitment, about being dignified in the way that you speak about the club and about unity. Professionally, Luis Suárez has given me everything since I came into the football club, but this is also a club that has offered Luis Suárez the utmost respect since he walked in the door.”
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal boss, shows Rodgers how to talk in public:
“The situation is on standby. I heard that [Suárez is considering legal action to force a move], but this is sometimes linked with things that you don’t know as a potential buyer. We have been told that the player wants to leave Liverpool and that is why we have acted.”
So. There you have it. Arsenal bid because someone in the know and close to Suarez told them he wanted out.
But King says:
Suarez, Guardiola and his lawyer believe they have a legally binding clause. Liverpool do not and nor do the PFA or the Premier League. Essentially what it says is this: if Liverpool do not qualify for the Champions League or if Liverpool receive a bid of more than £40m, the club will sit down ‘in good faith’ and discuss it.
It is not even remotely close to a trigger clause that would enable the Uruguayan to leave. As one insider said on Wednesday night, the Suarez camp ‘dropped the ball when it came to the phrasing of that sentence in the contract. It is so heavily caveated it amounts to nothing. Legally it is worthless.’
Arsenal were badly advised, it would seem.
The Daily Star plucks a straw. Arsenal will up their bid from £40m and £1 to £51m. Arsenal fans might well roll their eyes.