Luis Suarez had scored 17 Premier League goals by 20 December 2013 – the day it was announced he had signed a new long-term deal at Liverpool
Prior to that, his future had remained in some doubt. But with one flourish of a pen, he committed the next four-and-a-half years of his career to the Reds.
Since then, the uber-prolific Uruguayan has scored just six league goals, leading some to question whether or not he has taken his foot off the gas following his new deal.
For the record: he most certainly has not; but more on that later.
First to Wayne Rooney, who has also recently agreed a mega-money deal to remain at Old Trafford until he is well into his 30s.
While the Suarez deal was greeted with universal delight from Reds fans, Rooney’s new contract has prompted considerable debate, with the question at the crux of the arguments a simple one: Is he worth it?
The England striker will reportedly be taking home £300,000-a-week for the next five-and-a-half years; a tidy sum in anyone’s book.
This comes despite his own early-season form tailing off – the eight goals he scored in his first 10 league matches followed by just two in his next 10.
But here is the point of my piece: some players are worth more than just the goals they score. And both Rooney and Suarez should be assessed on far more than their conversion-rate.
After all, since the Liverpool striker agreed his new deal he has provided nine assists in the league and 12 in all competitions.
He has also run his socks off every time he has been on the pitch, doing whatever Brendan Rodgers asks of him and playing not for himself but for his team.
Similarly Rooney is a worker. Not the energetic, ball-of-energy that Suarez is but without him, United are considerably less.
So while both players will be judged on the bread-and-butter of their game, it is their overall contribution that both Liverpool and United were willing to pay so much for.
After all, few players are as influential for their sides as Suarez and Rooney.
image: © Viking-