This summer is vital for Liverpool for more than just the Luis Suarez dilemma. The past season was a ‘season-of-introspection’ for the fans. A new manager came in and was given ample time to implant his ideas and philosophy at the expense of immediate results.
Expectations were limited while heavy criticisms were suavely replaced by let-him-do-what-he-wants attitude – a typical rebuilding season, as we love to say it.
It was a season of extreme contrast for the Reds. If the first half of the season was about playing by the rhapsody of Brendan Rodgers’ consecrated ‘death-by-football’ philosophy; the next half of the campaign was a forceful attempt to cut the coat according to the Red cloth.
And inevitably one name comes to mind amid the concoction of highs and lows – Luis Suarez. What to say about this guy that has not been told elsewhere?
He nonchalantly stands out as hero among the bunch of mediocre. His dazzling skills and match winning abilities for his team leave even his fiercest critic applauding in bewilderment. A genius may be flawed one, whose goals helped Liverpool climb up the order, slowly yet steadily.
But, there is this inescapable dark side of the moon too. At one level he reaches the Everest of glory and adulation (for scoring 26 goals earning a nomination for the Player of the season); while the very same point he becomes a figure of aversion (for his heinous act of biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s arm) even among his staunch supporters.
This demonic shade of life, his ineluctable destiny clouds all angelic charisma and in place has put the club into an untenable position where a decision ‘now’ has to be made regarding the future of the maverick.
Suarez himself has stirred up the hornet’s nest by claiming last week that he wants a move away from Anfield. But unlike other top stars, who cites lack of ambition and drive as reasons for exit from the club, Suarez (has always been respectful to the club) chose to divert the attention by putting the entire blame on the English media.
Top players deserve to play for an elite club, deserve to play the Champions League football, and from that point-of-view his desire to test himself at a top European club like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich is not absurd by any stretch of imagination.
The club backed him during his dark days and he repaid the faith with an outstanding personal season taking individual bravura to a different pedestal altogether. No one and yes no one can ever doubt his commitment on pitch.
Liverpool have responded brilliantly here. They have made it clear that Luis Suarez is simply not up for sale. The club must not give an impression that they have succumbed to this anticipated pressure exerted by the player which could give them an upper-hand in the bidding war.
It seems like there is a definitive transfer strategy in place for Liverpool. They have been quick in identifying their targets and are working hard to wrap up those deals as early as possible.
And this is where I feel Liverpool should take a strong stance about Suarez and that too quickly to carry on with their sheeny plans of redevelopment. There is no point in keeping an unhappy player in the side, whose mind dreaming about Eden elsewhere, and heart resting on god-knows where it is.
Gabriele Marcotti recently wrote a piece about Suarez on his Monday Musings ESPN blog; he wrote:
“If he doesn’t feel comfortable in England (and given that he had nothing but nice things to say about Liverpool as a club and Liverpool fans, you assume that’s the issue), then the club just need to deal with it, particularly because this isn’t a situation that a fat, new contract can resolve.”
Thus what Liverpool can do best in such type of situation is to take loads of dosh out of the highest bidders’ pocket and re-invest it intelligently. But, this process has to be quick and efficient.
Liverpool will probably settle for a valuation of more than £40 million for Suarez. But, they must not linger the deal till the final days of transfer window in August in an attempt to earn some extra bucks.
Daniel Levy is admired by many for his calibre of squeezing out extra bit of money while dealing with any major Tottenham transfers. Spurs out-haggled both Manchester United and Real Madrid in the negotiation table for Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric deals respectively in recent years.
But in an attempt to gain that extra £3-4 million what Tottenham lost was the “precious” time which have had an impact directly or indirectly in determining the fate of their Premier League position. Had Modric’s deal not lingered till the month of August, the new manager Andre Villas-Boas could have had the time and money to re-strategize on the transfer policies.
It will thereby be a disaster for Liverpool if they enter into negotiation in the eleventh hour. It’s plain and simple. There aren’t too many players around having the same calibre of the former Ajax star. Hence, replacing him is already a nightmare task.
Thus, the task of replenishing the void needs a proper planning and strategy in place. Above all, it needs sufficient amount of time to execute such plans.
Liverpool should have learnt the lessons by now the mistake they originally made while dealing with Fernando Torres’ deal back in January 2011. Money sometimes doesn’t buy you the right commodity.
Having said that, I am not jumping into the “sell-Suarez-immediately” bandwagon, as I do hope that Liverpool holds on to him, but here presenting an alternative case, that shall he be sold, the deal must be conducted at the earliest.
Liverpool cannot simply afford to continue yet another rebuilding process. Building from scratch. Some good works have already been done in the last season. It is time to build a strong platform on it. Going three steps back again in order to move two steps forward is simply unacceptable this time around.
Therefore, an exciting, vital, interesting and action-filled summer lies ahead for the Reds – with or without – the buccaneering darling of Liverpool, Luis Suarez.