He’s at it again. A man who is no stranger to controversy, Luis Suarez, is aggravating yet more English football fans.
Except this time it’s not Chelsea or Manchester United fans, but those who have supported him through the thick and thin of his Anfield career.
Yes that’s right, he’s actually frustrating Liverpool fans, those who have duly enjoyed both the highs and the lows of the turbulent Luis Suarez rollercoaster and those who persist in sticking with him whenever he has found himself in the eye of another imminent storm.
Suarez's comments may have endangered the vociferous backing he receives from his Scouse supporters as ever since the beginning of the summer, Suarez has suggested he will be seeking a move away from Anfield over the coming months.
It was reported he originally considered leaving following the 10 match ban he received after the 26-year-old’s seemingly unprovoked bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April. He then cited the English media’s intrusion into his private life and their treatment of him as his motive to leave on the May 31.
Luis Suarez has made headlines on numerous occasions whilst at the Merseyside club. Rarely there have been those who imperceptibly praise his evident outstanding footballing ability.
More regularly the tabloids are inundated with vehement criticisms of his distinctively unique persona and the negative reputation he has concocted. Even so Liverpool fans have provided a raucous substratum of support on the Kop in an articulate defence of their forward.
He had previously claimed he wanted to quit England due to the media, but recently revised that slightly by informing Liverpool he wanted to join a Champions League club.
Suarez’s claims that the English media have been polemic towards him holds certain consistency when you examine incidents such as ESPN commentator Jon Champion branding his goal and his following celebration “the mark of a cheat” after he handled the ball shortly before scoring in his club’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Mansfield.
The Uruguayan striker celebrated in trademark fashion, which was quickly followed by tabloid newspapers mistakenly claiming this celebration was a form of gloating, ignoring the fact that he does this promptly after every goal he scores.
The 5ft 11in striker has undoubtedly brought negative press upon himself simultaneously though, having amassed 19 games in retrospective bans for Liverpool in just two-and-a-half seasons.
Suarez has created a divide amongst Liverpool supporters with his cumbersome comments, as some become increasingly agitated with his constant reiterations of wanting to leave in interviews, whilst others cling to the belief that his words are being blown out of proportion.
There is no doubt that the Uruguayan has flirted with rumours of interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid and admitted to Uruguayan radio station 890 Sport that it would be difficult for him to resist a move to Madrid.
Whilst it would be unreasonable to expect Suarez not to be honoured by this interest, some have been frustrated by his latest comments that he’s contractually obliged to join Liverpool for pre-season training, but that a phone call could change everything.
Indisputably, Suarez has been an incredible asset for Liverpool Football Club since his £22.8 million switch from Ajax. He adapted to English football effortlessly and his tally currently stands at 51 goals in 96 appearances for the club across all competitions. Suarez has given Reds’ fans many highlights, including superb hat-tricks in successive visits to Carrow Road and an exquisite assist against Manchester United back in 2011.
He certainly possesses unparalleled aptitude and Liverpool would find it difficult to replace his hunger, desire and his overall contribution to the team.
Even those who dislike Suarez will admit that he has unique attributes. His ability to retain possession in the box leaves supporters in awe, he can dribble past players in ease as the ball sticks to his feet like a magnet and he has an uncanny trait of conjuring something from nothing.
If Suarez should leave, it is likely Brendan Rodgers would opt to buy three or four players to improve the team as a whole rather than spend the funds on one direct replacement. Suarez’s strike rate last season was 23 goals and five assists in the Premier League, which could be adequately replaced if several forward-thinking players were bought to replace the attacking threat that would be lost.
After Rodgers’ recent superb financial business, he has shown he can spend minimally on quality so he could also strengthen the defence after he revealed he is keen to provide competition for Jose Enrique at left-back. This poses the debate as to whether Liverpool could actually be better off without Suarez?
Despite his input last season, Liverpool would still have finished in 7th place in the Premier League and they showed some of their best form in his absence.
The Uruguayan has sent the social networking rumour mill into meltdown commenting: “It is good to know I am still valued by teams like Arsenal," suggesting that he would be open to a move to the Gunners after they submitted a speculative bid for him last week. This is a move many Liverpudlians would oppose immediately as they would be reluctant to make the mistake Arsenal made with Robin van Persie in selling their best player to one of their biggest rivals.
BBC Sport recently revealed Arsenal improved their bid to £40 million which was rejected by Liverpool. Arsenal added an extra £1 onto the offer in order to activate Suarez’s release clause in his contract which states Liverpool must inform the player of the north-London club’s interest in him.
A move to Arsenal would be idiosyncratic of Suarez, as during the time since Arsenal last won any trophy, Liverpool have won the Champions League. They have also won the European Super Cup, the FA Cup and the League Cup during Arsenal’s trophy drought. Of course, Arsenal have consistently finished higher than Liverpool in the past few seasons and have qualified for the Champions League for 15 years consecutively.
The improved bid was baulked at by Liverpool’s principal owner John Henry who took to Twitter to joke: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”
Should Arsenal not reach the Reds' reported estimated value of £55 million, Liverpool will look to follow the footsteps that Tottenham took in preventing Luka Modric’s move to Chelsea when they did not offer a suitable amount of money. Modric then eventually moved to Real Madrid for £10 million less than Chelsea offered, but Spurs of course dodged the bullet of selling a star player to their rivals.
It has since been suggested that in order to push a move away from Merseyside, Suarez would have to hand in a written transfer request.
The next question is, if they do sanction his sale who could Liverpool bring in to fill the void the Uruguayan’s departure would leave? That is a different debate in itself and having missed out one or two big transfer targets, it could be incredibly difficult. Nevertheless Brendan Rodgers has shown excellent transfer nous in recent markets, acquiring exciting young prospects at satisfactory fees such as Phillipe Coutinho.
When talking in terms of pure footballing ability, Suarez will certainly go down as another one of the greats to wear the no.7 Red shirt but if he carries on his off-the-field antics, Kopites may not remember him so fondly. Former Liverpool striker Robbie Keane, speaking to talkSPORT said the 26-year-old’s position is untenable following the comments he has made.
Keane said: "Whatever the reason is behind him wanting to leave, he’s at a massive club like Liverpool so where would he go from there? I’m not really sure.”
Keane continued: “(The Champions League) is important (to a player) but if you’re playing for a massive club like Liverpool eventually they’re going to be back in the Champions League and they need players like Luis Suarez staying there to help them achieve that.”
Delaying the move for another season could have either a detrimental or an exuberant effect on both the club and the player.
Ideally, Liverpool would have a fantastic season and qualify for the Champions League which in turn could convince Suarez to stay at Liverpool long-term.
Should Luis Suarez’s wish not be granted or should he have a change of heart, then you can be guaranteed he will play his usual football. He will always put 110% into his game, in contrast to Fernando Torres who sulked quite evidently when he wanted a move away from Anfield. Instead, Suarez would likely play with the same intensity as in previous seasons when he has stated his happiness.
This presents a huge problem for Brendan Rodgers and the transfer committee as both selling him and keeping him have considerable pros and cons.
So what do you think? Luis Suarez. Keep… or sell?
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