This week Arsenal moved for unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with an extraordinary £40 million plus £1 bid.
The extra pound aims to trigger a clause in Suarez’s contract that stipulates Liverpool must make Suarez aware of any offers over £40 million.
The ‘Suarez crisis’ has been ongoing since the now infamous incident where the contentious striker bit Branislav Ivanovic during his side’s match against Chelsea.
Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness publicly declared at the time that Suarez should not be allowed to represent the Reds again.
Crucially, most of Suarez’s discontent seems to stem from his soured relationship with the British press and with fans of other clubs.
While many Liverpool fans have stuck by him, he has become a hate figure in the English game after his alleged racial abuse of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, coupled with his notorious antics against Ivanovic.
Moving to Arsenal would do little to resolve those issues, and though the Gunners desperately need a star striker, they also need someone to be a leader in the dressing room.
Since Robin Van Persie departed for Old Trafford last summer, Arsenal have lacked a commanding personality, a leader up-front.
Suarez’s reputation would certainly make it difficult for him to earn his team mates’ respect.
Gunners target Gonzalo Higuain appears to be on his way to Napoli in a £34.5 million deal, leaving boss Arsene Wenger with limited options in the transfer market, especially if United refuse to sell Wayne Rooney.
Understandably, in turning to Suarez, Wenger has set his heart on a player of breathtaking quality who was undeniably one of last season’s main catalysts.
And yet, time and time again Suarez’s behaviour has overshadowed his football, to the extent where Wenger must ask himself: is Suarez really worth all the trouble?
In fact, although Liverpool have rejected Arsenal’s initial bid, they too may have questions to ask themselves. It may indeed be Liverpool who would be getting the better deal.
Suarez is guaranteed to miss at least the first six games of the new season through suspension, and continues to damage the club’s revered reputation.
In the last year alone, he admitted to simulation against Stoke and celebrated after using his hand to score a goal against Mansfield by kissing his forearm.
If that were not enough, £40 million would go a long way to reforming Liverpool’s (frankly, mediocre) squad. Long-standing goalkeeper Pepe Reina has passed a medical at Napoli, and with such an abundant transfer kitty, Anfield gaffer Brendan Rodgers could replace Reina, Suarez, and even add a defender and a winger.
As for Wenger, the man once admired as a ‘football professor’, committed to long-term team building and an unrivalled eye for talented youths appears to have sacrificed all these principles.
After years of brow-beating, the Frenchman may have succumbed to the big-spending tactics of the other clubs at the top, in the meantime forgoing everything he has worked for – such is the modern world.
Understandably, a player of Suarez’s quality wants Champions League football, which admittedly Arsenal deliver year after year.
The fear for Wenger, surely, must be that Suarez would be a ticking time-bomb that may erupt into controversy at any moment, even if he were to initially sink his teeth into the challenges at the Emirates.
Sadly, whichever club he chooses will find that, despite his unquestionable talent, if Suarez remains in England, his history will always bite back at them.
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