This summer, the one thing that all Liverpool fans dreaded finally came about, Luis Suarez told the club he wants to leave Anfield.
At first the striker insisted that the British media were driving him away from the club and the Premier League with, in Suarez’s and a fair few Liverpool’s fans views, biased coverage of his indiscretions.
The Red’s fans could see where their beloved number seven was coming from; indeed we even had sympathy for him as it was affecting his personal life.
Barely a day went by where there wasn’t some new, hastily translated interview of Suarez confessing his love for the club but also his fear that the media would never give him the credit he feels he deserves and why he felt this meant his time in England was up.
Interest from Madrid cooled off - seemingly in favour of the less controversial Gareth Bale - and Juventus went and signed Carlos Tevez for £12million, a fraction of what it would take to prise Suarez from Liverpool’s clutches.
However all was not lost for Suarez. Arsenal, fresh from missing out on Gonzalo Higuain, saw an opportunity to add one of the world’s best players to their squad and weaken an expected rival for a top four spot in the coming season. The Gunners submitted an offer believed to be in the region of £35million for the striker which was swiftly rejected by Liverpool.
A club record bid rejected and Arsenal looked like missing out on another top striker this summer. However Arsene Wenger was given a huge fillip in his pursuit of ‘el pistolero’ when Suarez made it known he wanted Champions League football next season and Liverpool wouldn’t be able to provide him with it.
Now it seems Suarez will be ready to put up with the ‘bias’ of the British media as long as he can play on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening for a team in the Champions League for a club that finished closer in points terms to his current team than they did to the champions, Manchester United.
Arsenal came back with an extraordinary offer of £40million plus £1. An offer unapologetically designed to trigger a clause in Suarez’s contract that he believes should allow him to open negotiations with the London club and the club believe only gets Suarez the privilege to be informed of the offer.
Since he’s been back with the squad Suarez has cut a miserable looking figure and although he has appeared for Liverpool during pre-season he as rarely looked his usual engaged and effervescent self. The Uruguayan clearly wants out, and Liverpool should sell.
The player has disrespected the club and its fans by claiming to feel picked on by the media only to change his story once another English club made an offer for him.
Suarez is an incredibly talented player but he is not without his problems on the pitch. He will miss at least six games next season through suspension and if his previous disciplinary record- a joint top 10 yellow cards last season- is anything to go by he will probably miss more. Plus it’s hard to imagine Suarez giving his usual level of effort on the pitch next season if he feels the club have wronged him.
Although only Robin van Persie scored more Premier League goals than Suarez last season statistically speaking the Liverpool number seven is pretty wasteful in front of goal. His chance conversion percentage for the last two seasons at Liverpool stand at 10% and 16%, hardly dead-eye stuff.
Yes Suarez adds more than just goals to a team and some of his link up play and passing can be delightful at times his poor chance conversion rate cannot be ignored as a striker.
Keeping Suarez seems to be Liverpool’s first choice but if they fail to reach the rarefied company of the Champions League next season the club risks losing the Uruguayan for a smaller fee next summer. It’s a risk that might not be worth taking.
The club and its fans should also take note and encouragement from the last time a star striker left for a rival club. Fernando Torres hasn’t exactly flourished at Chelsea and the club used the money to fund Suarez and Carroll’s transfers. Carroll wasn’t a success but Suarez was.
If the Red’s receive an offer in the region the club received for Torres, and are able to reinvest wisely in a couple of players of the standard the club signed in the January transfer window, then Liverpool might end up in a better position overall than if they keep Suarez against his wishes.
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