Liverpool confirmed on Friday that Luis Suarez had committed his future to the club by signing a new deal and, according to one former Anfield star, it is a statement comparable to Arsenal's record acquisition of Mesut Özil.
Suarez has been in irresistible form this season with his 17 goals in 11 games propelling him to the summit of the Premier League's goalscoring rankings. The Uruguay international has now found the net 47 times in his last 54 games for the Reds.
Arsenal strived desperately to sign Suarez during the summer transfer window but, after it became clear Liverpool would not sell the player, focused their attention on the recruitment of Özil from Real Madrid.
The German arrived at the Emirates Stadium in a deal worth €50 million and has played a prominent role in the Gunners' rise to the top of the Premier League table. And, claims Ray Houghton, that sizeable deal is on a par with Suarez pledging his allegiance to Liverpool.
"It will give the whole club a lift, particularly the players, because it ends the uncertainty of whether Luis was staying or going," the former Liverpool midfielder told Goal.com.
"To lose one of your two world class players – the other being Steven Gerrard – would have been a major setback just as the club was being put on the right footing.
"In that regard, I compare it to Mesut Özil signing for Arsenal from Real Madrid. Özil was big statement from Arsenal that they meant business and Luis’s new contract shows that Liverpool mean business, too.
"The main thing for Brendan Rodgers is that there will be less negative distractions for him to worry about over the busy new few weeks and, of course, the January transfer window.
"He can focus on the playing side and who he can get to strengthen his squad, rather than the prospect of losing his best player."