There are plenty of things you can hold against Luis Suarez, racial abuse being chief among them, but wanting to leave Liverpool is not.
In most professions, personal ambition and a wish to further one’s business interests within the legal parameters of the industry are considered to come with the territory. For some reason however, it is held against footballers that they are being significantly more unreasonable if they do this. It may not seem fair to clubs or fans, but it is at least understandable.
The idea that Suarez owes it to Liverpool to stay in order to repay the support they have given him through his various racism, diving and biting incidents is ridiculous. Liverpool were foolhardy in defending Suarez and portraying him as the victim, but that was their choice and their mistake. It is hard to imagine that they would have been quite so supportive if it had been a fringe player in question.
Liverpool are a team struggling to come to terms with the fact that they have dropped down a level in recent years from regularly finishing in the top four and competing in the Champions League to being an upper mid table side with no guarantees of playing in Europe.
They see Suarez as a major player in their ability to return to where they want to be, and so they are understandably reluctant to see him leave. Now with Suarez wanting to leave in order to play at the top level, and with teams who can offer him Champions League football interested in him, Suarez is in a powerful position, Liverpool’s backs are against the wall and they are using any way they can to try to survive this issue.
Arsenal have already offered £40,000,001 for Suarez, yet Liverpool are insisting they will not consider anything less than £50m. While the likes of Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain have been spending huge sums this summer, Liverpool are overvaluing a player that a season ago was considered not to score enough goals.
It’s hard not to see the link to Fernando Torres’ £50m transfer to Chelsea in the same transfer window that Suarez arrived at Liverpool in 2011, and perhaps a reluctance to be seen to get less for a player who is now better than Torres. However, the Torres transfer was the kind of bolt from the blue that Roman Abramovich occasionally produces and cannot be seen to represent real market value.
The chorus of voices that are implying that Suarez has to stay at Liverpool to repay the debt he has to them, ranging from the manager Brendan Rogers, to Anfield legends like Graeme Souness and John Aldridge, are wrong because they were only willing to support him while he was scoring goals for them, which he did.
Of course it is understandable that these voices want to defend their team, just like managers and ex-players of all other teams would, but to try to claim the moral high ground now when they were in Suarez’ corner on more morally dubious issues just comes across as bitter and resentful.
Consider that if Suarez played for Everton, who actually finished above Liverpool last season, it’s doubtful that the likes of Souness and Aldridge would be criticising Suarez for being disrespectful by trying to further his career.
Currently, Liverpool need Suarez more than Suarez needs Liverpool. His sudden willingness to want to move elsewhere in England despite previously complaining about his treatment by the British media is contradictory, but he can not be blamed for wanting to reach the higher echelons of his profession.
Football is a business, despite the emotional attachments it creates, and it is only reasonable to accept that many players will want to get the most out of their short playing careers as they can.
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