The 26-year-old has been something of a divisive figure in his two years at Anfield and on Wednesday evening he was centre stage once again as he returned to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat.
Suarez hadn’t played a competitive match for the Reds since March of this year due to his ten-match FA ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic but whether he plays or not the controversy is never too far away from him.
He was the eye of the storm this summer – after telling the press he wanted to leave English because of the press, he then courted the interest of Arsenal who made two bids this summer.
The second bid, a ‘derisory’ £40,000,001 offer which the Gunners had expected to trigger a release clause turned out to be nothing of the sort. Liverpool owner John W Henry questioned what they had been smoking over at the Emirates and the club maintained its stance that the player was not for sale (at least not for a penny less than his £50-plus million valuation).
Suarez came out publicly with an interview in the British press to declare he felt betrayed by Liverpool who had supposedly assured him he could leave if they did not gain access to the Champions League which, by now, was the focus of his attention, not the English press.
The club held firm and, in the end Suarez backed down, Arsenal withdrew their interest and everyone went back to playing football – except Suarez, obviously – but following his run out on Wednesday, the club’s director Ian Ayre has suggested Liverpool will now offer him a new contract.
“We genuinely always wanted Luis to be here this season,” Ayre told Sky Sports News.
“We wanted him to continue to be here, continue to contribute because he’s such a brilliant player. We’re not a selling club. We’re here to win and move forward and we see Luis as an important part of that.”
“At the appropriate time we will have [contract] talks with Luis and his advisers. I’m absolutely certain in the summer or approaching the next summer, we’ll have a conversation with Luis,” he added.
First things first, it was clear from the offset of this debacle that Liverpool wanted Suarez – they want and need him to have any hope of qualifying for the Champions League and achieving their objectives.
Secondly, no one has suggested that Liverpool are a selling club – they have sold some players but not, for example, in the same manner that Arsenal have done in recent years.
Meanwhile, Suarez only just renewed his contract last season – it already runs until 2018, how much longer can he commit his future? If it’s about money, which I actually doubt it is in his case, he already earns £6.24 million annually which equates to £120,000 a week.
Whilst it all seems rosy and cosy over at Anfield at present what with Suarez staying and everything, the fact of the matter is, if he’d have had his way, he would have been out the door on the double – even the most loyal of Reds fans must know that. I mean if he was prepared to go to Arsenal, he’d have literally gone anywhere that plays in the Champions League.
Offering him a new contract is also an exercise in futility in this day and age, anyway – if a player is under contract until 2018 and he’s still trying to engineer a move and other clubs are still attempting to prize him away, what will adding another year or two on his contract really achieve?
I don’t expect Suarez to commit to a new deal – mostly because I find it hard to believe his agent and advisors would recommend it – having missed the boat this summer in terms of an opportunity to go elsewhere, of course he’ll be all smiles this season and he’ll work hard for the team but only to put himself in the shop window. Liverpool fans must know that by now – he has no loyalty or genuine affection for the club, he has only every behaved to suggest the contrary.
Signing a new deal with Liverpool, however much money they offer him, is only going to add yet another reason not to buy him in terms of prospective clubs in January or the summer – he knows that, his agent knows that and Liverpool must know that.
The only way he’ll agree to it is if there is a genuine release clause and I don’t mean a release clause of £60-£100 million but a release clause close enough to his £50 million valuation which you would have to think Liverpool would never agree to in the first place.
That's not the purpose of offering him a new contract - making it easier for him to leave; the purpose is to make it easier for him to stay and harder for clubs to steal him away. If Luis Suarez signs a contract extension, I'll eat my hat.
image: © wonker