After bidding £40,000,001 for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez only to be informed that their bid does not require the Merseyside club to sell the Uruguayan striker, Arsenal must now decide whether to meet the Reds’ valuation of the 26-year-old.
I would hazard a guess that by bidding £1 over Suarez’ contract clause that required Liverpool to inform the player of the offer and allow the Gunners to speak with the player, that the North Londoners would have hoped for an outcome where Suarez forced a move by handing in a transfer request formally to Liverpool and making his position untenable to engineer a move.
That, so far, has not happened. Instead, Arsenal’s audacious bid was firmly rejected by Liverpool who have reiterated that the player is a) not for sale and b if he was, it would be for closer to and possibly beyond £50 million.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis as much as promised big spending and big signings on big wages this summer. The club effectively made a rod for their own back by committing themselves so early by their admission that the club needed to bring in top quality players to prove their ambition and by insisting they had the resources to compete in the market.
Now, with the fans still agonizing over their lack of business – the Gunners have so far brought in only 20-year-old Ligue 1 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre – it’s clear the club and the manager have a big decision to make.
After failing to meet Real Madrid’s increased demands for Gonzalo Higuain who has since signed for Napoli, Arsenal have very few options left in the way of top quality strikers who are likely available.
With the new season fast approaching along with their crucial Champions League qualification play-off, do the club stick or twist? How badly do they want and or need Luis Suarez?
Are they prepared to go to £50 million? Are they prepared to go further than that? If they were unwilling to increase to £30 million for Higuain, will they be prepared to go even further for a player that is, whilst obviously talented, also a big liability?
I suppose it ultimately depends on whether the club feels they can find an alternative (a genuinely top quality striker) for less than that. With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Andre Schurrle all moving elsewhere and the increasing likelihood that Roberto Soldado will move to Tottenham imminently, there are very few options left on the market.
They are unlikely to be able to change Borussia Dortmund’s mind over Robert Lewandowski even if they wanted to, Christian Benteke has committed his future to Aston Villa, Jackson Martinez looks close to joining Higuain at Napoli, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to want to stay at PSG. There are very few if any potentially world-class options available apart from Suarez.
With a pool of top talent so diminished in the month that Arsenal haven’t signed anyone, there really is only Luis Suarez or possibly Wayne Rooney who, like Liverpool, Manchester United are more than a little reluctant to sell at all, never mind to a direct rival.
The way things have gone so far, one would have to say Arsenal’s options are Suarez or bust. It’s either £50-plus million or nothing and I don’t think the club would ever live it down with their fans if they didn’t sign a big name this summer.