Reports at the weekend claimed Manchester City were contemplating a huge bid for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Given that the two sides are currently going head-to-head for the Premier League title, and will be facing each other in just a few days, the timing of the story was interesting to say the least. But when Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre talked of club's "rattling the cage" you sensed it was simply what happened to sides with the most exciting talent in the game.
Yes there would always be interest - and plenty of speculation - but losing the Uruguayan was not an option; because if the Reds played hard-ball last summer they are in a considerably better position for negotiation (or should that be non-negotiation) now.
With Suarez having agreed a new long-term deal at Anfield, and with the return of Champions League football just around the corner, the front-man is going absolutely nowhere.
But that did not stop me asking if City actually need him, given the strikers currently at their disposal. And yet a quick look at the stats shows the answer is an emphatic yes.
Suarez has out-performed all of City's recognised front-men in eight key areas. He has almost double the amount of Premier League goals as Sergio Aguero, and more than Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic combined .
He also has more than twice as many assists as his nearest challenger in blue, and is streets ahead in terms of key passes and on-target scoring attempts.
While City fans may point to Aguero's injury absence as a reason for the figures reading as they do, it could conversely be argued that Suarez's lack of serious injuries this season is yet another key stat in which he excels.
Some players are more injury-prone than others, and in Suarez Liverpool have a front-man who is invariably fit - at least this season: a reason in itself to make him appealing to domestic and European rivals.
|Player||Goals||Goal Assist||Key Pass||On-target Scoring Attempts||Apps||Mins|
Moving on from the bread-and-butter of a striker's work, Suarez also outdoes the City quartet when it comes to interceptions won, possession won in the final-third, accurate passes and forward passes.
In short, it is no wonder City would be interested in signing him, so would practically every club in Europe!
|Player||Interception Won||Possession Won Final 3rd||Accurate Pass||Fwd Pass||Apps||Mins|