Liverpool owner John W Henry has echoed the same hymn the club manager Brendan Rodgers has been singing throughout the summer. That is, Luis Suarez is simply not up for sale – not to Arsenal, not to anybody.
And that is really a huge statement of intent. The general consensus among the Liverpool fans is that the club would not do any business with another rival Premier League club, but could be willing to strike a deal with continental giants like Real Madrid, should an offer come in for him.
There was also a train of thought that Liverpool might have left it too late for any potential transfer of Suarez. The Reds owner understands that time is too short for making necessary reinforcements, if he is sold therefore the Uruguayan must stay solely on the ground of footballing reasons, albeit the relationship between him and the club has reached its lowest ebb.
Liverpool supported Suarez through thick and thin, accepting all his sundry acts and tried to defend the indefensible, which has come back to haunt them. Whether, the player is pretty antithetical to what Liverpool stand for, the level to which the club stooped down before him, realizing what goes around does indeed come around, are irrelevant here. That is a debate for some other day, which has nothing to do with this saga.
Here the matter is pretty simple, unless you make it complex. A big club does not sell their prized assets to their rivals, unless they’re compelled to do it. And secondly, each and every player has a price. Wayne Rooney wants to join Chelsea and is unsettled at Manchester United – then why are the Red Devils unwilling to accept £25 million odd for him? And here, Arsenal are not short of say £4-5 million from Liverpool’s valuation, but at least £10-15 million, and for a club like Liverpool that doesn’t enjoy the financial luxuries of Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG etc it is too much to think about.
But, most importantly, the club cannot afford to lose their star player at this juncture. With less than 10 days remaining for the start of a brand new season, replacing a high profile player is simply not easy, more so for a club without Champions League.
What the second half of Liverpool’s campaign last season taught Rodgers is that the Reds can cope without Suarez. There is still life without him. The new signings made a huge impact and Rodgers would be hoping that same trend continues too. But, with Suarez, this team is a force that can seriously mount a top-four challenge; hence, the club is hell-bent on keeping hold of a world-class player.
In any case Liverpool will miss Suarez’s service for the first couple of months. It will be interesting to see how the signings step up in his absence. Suarez, of all people, who wants to play, will one fine morning realize that he has dug his own heels and further staying away from the game will jeopardize his chances of playing at the World Cup only. Further, if he misses too many games and doesn’t perform anywhere near his best like last season, many top clubs would probably not take the risk of buying him in the next transfer windows.
No way, he can go to Arsenal now. Even if the Gunners lodge a £50 million bid, there is a high chance that it would be rejected.
Liverpool have handled the situation with great intelligence, class, adroitness and have proved that the Reds have really done their homework this summer. Further, it gives a strong message to Suarez as well that he simply cannot do anything he wishes. There is a need to respect the contract as well.
The only fly in the ointment remains that probably Liverpool have lost the spirited Suarez forever. The maverick is at his best, when he enjoys the game to the fullest. He is like a winding rampaging river that probably cannot be controlled.