It’s something of a cumbersome saga to draw any solid conclusions on at present – the 26-year-old Uruguayan came out publicly this week to state his desire to leave the Merseyside club for Champions League football elsewhere, as he claimed they promised he could.
Then, on Friday, owner Henry came out publicly to re-state that the club would not sell its best asset – despite manager Brendan Rodgers intimating they could be tempted if a club met their £50-plus million valuation of the striker.
It’s clear as day to see that Liverpool do not want to sell to Arsenal – they don not want to sell to a direct rival for the top four and likely don’t want to sell him to any other English club.
However, potential suitors abroad have been so far a little reluctant to get involved in the ugliness going between the two clubs and the player – Real Madrid was understood to be Suarez’ destination of choice but the Spanish giants are wrapped up in their pursuit of Gareth Bale and, as yet, appeared to have discontinued their interest in Suarez.
However, after selling Gonzalo Higuain (not to Arsenal) to Napoli, Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti will have only Karim Benzema as a senior out-and-out centre-forward at the Bernabeu. Of course, he has plenty of other dangerous players but on the Frenchman can be considered a seasoned striker.
Alvaro Morata and Jese are both fantastic prospects for the future but they lack experience and consistency, which, as it happens, hasn’t been Benzema’s most prominent attribute in recent times either.
The 25-year-old arrived in the Spanish capital from Lyon back in 2009, the same year as Cristiano Ronaldo but he has made nowhere near the same impact as his Portuguese teammate.
He had his best season to date in 2011/12, scoring 32 goals and making 15 assists helping Real Madrid lift the La Liga title. However, he seemed to hit a slump last term, managing just 11 league goals and 12 assists.
Could Real Madrid be tempted to sell him? I have little doubt they could be. He’s not anywhere near the level he was playing at a couple of years ago and still has yet to come through on the potential they paid €41 million for.
I’m sure, given the choice, they’d prefer Suarez – as I’m sure Liverpool would, obviously, in an ideal world. But this is not an ideal world – keeping Suarez around is likely to unsettle the dressing room and selling him abroad has got to be better than selling him to a domestic rival.
Would Liverpool take a swap deal for Karim Benzema in return for Luis Suarez? I think they would be wise to. I suspect, however, the France striker would have his own agenda and he, like his Uruguayan counterpart, will likely want to play in the Champions League next term.
image: © Jan S0L0