Despite rumours of a £40 million Bayern Munich bid this summer there is good reason to believe Luis Suarez will see out the remainder of his career at Anfield.
Suarez is 26 years of age and undoubtedly has already entered the peak years of his playing career. He transferred to Liverpool from Ajax in 2011 after enjoying an impressive run of form for the Uruguayan national team in the 2010 World Cup in which he reached the semi-final.
He had then the opportunity to make his ‘big move’ as players of his exceptional quality often do around their mid-twenties. He chose Liverpool. He was then their most expensive signing at £22.8 million and he signed a 5-year contract. That was his choice at 24 and he pledged his peak years to the Reds.
Yes, there is still time for another move – 26 is by no stretch of the imagination ‘past it’. However, the form he has enjoyed since is a testament to his happiness on Merseyside. He is enjoying his football more than ever before.
His form is no accident, I’m, sure of it. It’s a result of how the team is set up – around him. Like his predecessor, Fernando Torres, Liverpool are set up to feed Suarez, to give him the perfect nourishment that any striker desires – opportunities to score.
Whilst Bayern Munich may be a temptation for any professional footballer, especially under incoming manager Pep Guardiola, the Bundesliga leaders are not set up around one individual.
Even the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger have to fit in with the system employed which is, by design, set up to incorporate different styles of different players with different attributes.
Liverpool is by design set up to incorporate one man – Luis Suarez – even Steven Gerrard is deployed strategically to serve the front-man and the England captain has been nothing but the perfect servant – to the club and to the forward who came in to replace Torres.
Synonymously, if Suarez did move to Munich, he would not enjoy the form he does at Liverpool because he wouldn’t be granted as many playing opportunities. Such is Bayern’s wealth of attacking talent, Suarez would be considered an ‘option’ rather than the only option that he was up until the arrival of Daniel Sturridge in January.
A 26-year-old in the form of his life would be insane to move to a club where he would spend more time on the bench – especially with the World Cup in Brazil just around the corner.
On the topic of Sturridge , it is clear from the manager Brendan Rodgers and the owner John Henry that there is ambition and there is a willingness to improve the club’s position.
Signings like Sturridge and Coutinho will have sent a message to Suarez that there are efforts being made to ensure he is not the soul breadwinner of the team; that the goal-burden that befalls him is in the process of being alleviated by the management and ownership.
Which brings me to his contract, which he extended to run until 2018. How much more of an assurance do the fans and the club need than that? For the reasons outlined above, Suarez believes he is best off at Anfield – even, as he has recently stated publicly, they do not make the Champions League this year.
He has every reason to stay and if his form this term is anything to go by he is happier than he’s ever been – he’s grateful for the club and the fans’ support through trials and tribulations last season and he wants nothing more than to move forward – as a Liverpool player.
By 2018 he will be 32. I would fully expect he will extend his contract again before then.
image: © Viking-