In a peculiar unfolding of events, Arsenal appear to have attempted to trigger a clause in the 26-year-old striker’s contract which runs until 2016 that apparently stipulates that Liverpool must ‘inform’ the player if a bid over £40 million is made for him.
The offer, albeit somewhat derisory, from Liverpool’s point of view does ramp up the pressure on the Merseyside club who have reiterated, via manager Brendan Rodgers this week, that Suarez is categorically not for sale.
Meanwhile, the controversial Reds’ star remains a divisive figure amongst the Gunners’ faithful – on the one hand, Gooners are desperate for the club to sign a ‘big name’ but on the other hand there are serious reservations over Suarez’ conduct at Liverpool and prior to his 2011 move from Ajax.
Liverpool insist that Suarez is worth more than the bid which had been rejected – it is understood the club value him over £50 million, in relation to his Uruguay national teammate Edinson Cavani who moved to Paris Saint-Germain this month for a fee of £54 million.
However, even casting aside reasonable concerns over Suarez’ behavior, it is possible that Arsenal could spend that cash more wisely. The Gunners had been linked in recent weeks with Gonzalo Higuain who looks to be on the verge of completing a £34 million move to Napoli to replace Cavani in new boss Rafael Benitez’ side.
Meanwhile, further afield, in Germany, Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are still clinging desperately to Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who is heavily linked with a move to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
However, Dortmund remain adamant the 24-year-old hitman will not be sold to their direct domestic rivals and, whilst Manchester United have been suggested as a possible destination, that interest seems to have been cooled in recent weeks.
The Dortmund striker is valued around £30 million according to reports and, whilst the club are reportedly ‘forcing’ him to stay (imagine that – forcing someone who has a contract worth £40,000 a week to honour their commitment?)
Arsenal could easily double if not treble those wages if they were so inclined and one would assume, provided United’s interest has cooled, Dortmund would rather sell him to a foreign club rather than a domestic rival and, considering his contract expires next summer, they might feel a little more inclined to listen to offers from outside Germany.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Manchester United have a wantaway striker of their own in Wayne Rooney who handed in a transfer request back in May. Chelsea have entered the ‘race’ to sign the 27-year-old Englishman with Jose Mourinho confirming him as the Blues’ primary target and he is thought to be valued around £30 million, although his £250,000 a week in wages are astronomically high, this would still represent a better deal than £40 million for Suarez.
The issue is, of course, that Suarez is the most proven option – Rooney’s fitness and form has been called in question in recent years, Higuain and Lewandowski would need to adapt and acclimatize to the Premier League where Suarez is, effectively, the nest-best-thing to Robin van Persie.
With all options taken into consideration, it would appear quite natural that Arsenal would be chasing Suarez so frantically - £40-plus million is a lot of money and there are certainly cheaper alternatives available in the market but, pound-for-pound, it’s a case of better the devil you know.
image: © ruairaigh