Luis Suarez has dominated headlines for a variety of reasons over the past two years, but the saga that first promoted him as a hot, trending topic was the one that saw him almost leave Liverpool in 2013.
At the time the Uruguayan, who had yet to reach the same level of hype as he did last season, was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger reportedly ready to activate the release clause in his contract that supposedly stood at £40 million.
Suarez's Liverpool saga
Famously Reds chiefs somehow got around that fact and he never ended up moving to one of Liverpool’s most historic Premier League rivals, much to the dismay of Gunners supporters. His subsequent campaign on Merseyside saw him fire in 31 goals in England’s top flight, tying him with Cristiano Ronaldo for the European Golden Boot and propelling him into a spotlight that saw Barcelona unable to resist paying huge money for his signature.
Now though his agent, Pere Guardiola, has revealed that the summer of 2013 was the most uncomfortable one he and Suarez have endured, with the confusion over his buy-out clause well documented by the media, on top of that fact that he had to serve a six match Premier League ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
"That was the moment that made me most uncomfortable with Luis [the Arsenal fiasco]- especially for me and our relationship," Guardiola told FourFourTwo, as relayed by Le 10 Sport.
"Because of the confusion about the release clause? Because of the confusion, because of what we had already agreed with the club, because situations change and force you to do things that make you uncomfortable. It was a difficult summer, and Luis had to train away from the team. Everything was in the press."
Ultimately Suarez is sure to look back on the fiasco and feel relieved, as he earned his blockbuster move to the Nou Camp only a year later. Admittedly his reputation had taken a severe beating following another bite, this time on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup, but on the whole the 28-year-old has plenty to thank Liverpool for.
That’s not to say that he wouldn’t have prospered had he ended up at Arsenal, who instead used the money they would have parted with in order to land playmaker Mesut Ozil. The Gunners have been missing a prolific hit-man in front of goal since the departure of Robin van Persie, and Suarez might well have become the talismanic forward Wenger needs if his side are to challenge for major honours regularly.
Ever at the centre of controversy however Arsenal supporters might now be thankful that they didn’t land Suarez. Either way, it’s Barcelona who are reaping the benefits now.
Liverpool fans, do you wish you could have kept Suarez? Arsenal fans, are you gutted you weren’t able to land him? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below...