Watch out Liverpool! The Real Madrid-Suarez courting begins afresh

Suarez Liverpool 3

If, as expected, Luis Suarez is pursued by Real Madrid this summer, expect a bloody and at times conniving transfer battle, much like Bale's move last year.

Liverpool fans must be dreading the possibility Spanish giants Real Madrid decide to come calling at the Premier League for the second summer in a row.

Never the most sensitive of negotiators, this time last year there were rumours that Real were very seriously in the market for at least one of two Premier League stars, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez.

As we all know, they ended up putting all their efforts into signing the Welshman from Spurs, after a phenomenal bout of form at the end of the season that was topped off by him winning PFA and Football Writer's Player of the Year.

Sound familiar?

Suarez's La Liga chances dwindled after Bale's record switch, and he ended up flirting with the possibility of moving to Arsenal, a transfer that many would have accepted as somewhat of a sidestep.

But in May, with the season barely finished, it looked very much likely that Bale would be staying at Spurs for at least one more year. He was in all the promotional campaigns over the summer, new kits, on billboards in New York, he even made it into some early pre-season friendlies before the Madrid club really firmed up their interest.

However, as the rumours grew, so did the underhand Real recruitment campaign. You had former Spurs teammate and current Real midfielder Luka Modric declaring he would be a perfect fit for the Spaniards, Zinedine Zidane encouraging a transfer request from the player if he was interested in a move, and who knows what else happening behind the scenes with Bale and his agent.

It was a series of actions that left Suarez very much a secondary thought, though genuine interest was there and has remained throughout the recent season.

Now, with strong rumours that Real are ready to offload Karim Benzema, and Suarez having enjoyed a spectacular 31 goal season that leaves him almost undisputed as the world's best striker, there should be no doubts as to who their number one target is this summer.

Suarez has already touched on the rumours, in what was a carefully worded statement that didn't unequivocally confirm he would be at the club next year, but merely handed all control to his agent. There had been reports that he had a clause in his recently signed contract saying he could speak to Real or Barca if they made a bid, and the main tone of his quotes was merely denying that this is the case.

"There is no clause that suggests a priority for a specific team," the Liverpool striker said.

"My head now is focused on the World Cup. My agent tells me what's there. It's more speculation than reality."

As interest grows from Spain, expect Zidane and co to begin to make sure Suarez to Real is the transfer on everyone's lips, including the forward himself.

Liverpool are of course in a significantly better position that Tottenham were with Bale last year. They are in the Champions League next season, and proved that they are genuine title challengers who will almost certainly be involved in the hunt for trophies in the 2014-15 season. Bale was also always going to command a fee that was that much more impossible to turn down, primarily because of his age and similarity to Cristiano Ronaldo's style of play. Real would be unlikely to go as high as £80 million for a 27-year-old, though would perhaps be willing to throw in Benzema as a sweetener.

If Suarez has an impressive World Cup, Real are almost certain to go all out for a player that will be even more the current world star. And with Suarez away from England and back in his home continent, it will be harder for Liverpool to keep an eye on their talisman.

The Reds can but hope that another striker sets the World Cup alight, somehow drawing Real Madrid's attention away from a player they've been following for some time.

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