Suarez revealed last week that he would be open to a move to the Spanish capital despite the Reds’ reluctance to sell their star striker this summer.
Initial reports had linked the Uruguayan with a potential move to Bayern Munich but it now seems Real Madrid will be his likely destination this summer, if reports of a £50 million club record fee deal are to be believed.
However, perhaps a kitty of £50 million in exchange for a controversial player like Suarez wouldn’t be such a bad thing. After all, there are plenty of quality players available on the continent if Brendan Rodgers opts to bite the bullet and cash in on Suarez.
Liverpool recently announced the signing of Manchester City defender Kolo Toure on a free transfer. The former Arsenal centre-back will come in to provide an excellent replacement for Jamie Carragher who retired at the end of the season.
However, Rodgers will still required reinforcements and reinvestment in his backline. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtl have matured into a fairly solid and reliable centre-back pairing with young Sebastian Coates functioning as an understudy but, even with the arrival of Toure, another centre-back wouldn’t go amiss at Anfield.
The Reds are linked with a possible move for young Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The 21-year-old Greece international is an exceptional talent and certainly a fantastic prospect for the future.
His tackling is already excellent, he’s intelligent and reads the game well and at 6ft he would be well equipped to handle the physicality of the Premier League. He could be available for around £12 million.
Meanwhile, what Brendan Rodgers desperately craves is more attacking ammunition in his side. Suarez provided the lion-share of goals this term and, even if he were to end up staying, Liverpool need another striker to rival Daniel Sturridge and the returning Fabio Borini.
Liverpool have been linked with Aston Villa youngster Christian Benteke who, for around £15 million would provide ready-made proven goalscoring ability, physical presence in and around the box and technical quality as a supporting striker.
At 22, he’s be a great prospect for the club’s future but he’s not going to be on the shelf for long – he’s one of the hottest prospects in the country at present and Liverpool will need to move fast if they want to beat the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal to signing him.
Liverpool will also likely require some more flair and creativity in their midfield. The signing of young Philippe Coutinho was another astute bit of business from Rodgers.
The Brazilian started off well in 2013 and he’s only going to improve as he settles and develops but still there is an overreliance on Steven Gerrard who is still immense but obviously isn’t getting any younger.
Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson are starting to look a little livelier but they’re still not the finished article and if Rodgers really means business and intends to deliver Champions League football any time soon, the Reds need another quality attacking midfield playmaker who can run at defences and penetration when teams park the bus.
Someone like long-term target Christian Eriksen would be ideal. If Liverpool sell Suarez, they could do with bringing in another Ajax gem like the young Dane. He’s not going to come cheap – minimum £15 million is what the Dutch champions will be looking for to even contemplate letting him go but he’d be worth every penny.
That brings us in around £42 million according to my calculations, leaving Rodgers with £8 million and no Luis Suarez. Hmmm. Tricky. You’re never going to replace a player like Suarez like-for-like.
Eriksen would go some way to replacing the creativity of Suarez and Benteke could replace the goals to a large extent but there’s still going to be something missing, whichever way you look at it. Liverpool need a player with the same tenacity, determination and bite to his game (forgive me).
Barcelona youngster Cristian Tello has been linked with a move to the Premier League after disappointing spell under Tito Vilanova to whom, according to reports, he is surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou.
He’s valued at £8 million and his versatility makes him an attractive prospect. He can play wide on the left flank or through the middle potentially as a striker.
Tello’s real quality but if Rodgers wants passion and commitment, he need look no further than Wigan youngsters Callum McManaman or James McCarthy who could provide just the kind of competition Raheem Sterling needs on the right flank. McCarthy is valued around the same price as Blackpool’s Tom Ince at £5 million and McManaman could come in for less than £3 million.
Without mentor Roberto Martinez, stuck down to the Championship, they would very likely relish the opportunity to continue their development in the Premier League under a manager with Rodgers' kind of philosophy.
They are that old-fashioned kind of English players – they play with passion and never let their heads drop – their work-rate is exemplary and could really bring energy and dynamism to Rodgers’ dressing room.
It’s that work ethic and passion that Liverpool would likely miss most in Suarez and, whilst you can replace the goals just about, the creativity and energy what you need is heart. Luis Suarez is the heart of Liverpool but for how much longer will his heart be in it is the question.
However, let's not forget we have been here before. Back in 2011 Liverpool netted £50 million from the sale of Fernando Torres, and blew £35 million on Andy Carroll.
The men responsible have been dismissed, and you would fancy this time around for Liverpool to handle their windfall far more astutely.
image: © ruairaigh