LIVERPOOL: Luis Suarez has insisted he wants Liverpool to sell him this summer – preferably to Arsenal – and has accused the Anfield club of breaking a promise to release him after missing out on a Champions League return.
The Uruguayan has thus overtaken Wayne Rooney in the race towards London. Rooney missed Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with AIK in Stockholm on Tuesday – a match the champions had promoted as his comeback – supposedly because of either a leg or shoulder injury.
Later this week he is also expected to force the issue by submitting a formal demand for a transfer, confident that Chelsea are ready to pay any fee within reason.
The latest salvo from Suarez was significant because of The Guardian newspaper in the role of messenger. All his previous mutterings have been to Uruguayan radio stations and doubts always lingered over issues such as distance, translation and context.
Now there are no doubts.
Suarez said he was ready to submit a formal transfer request by the end of the week if Liverpool continued to block a move to Arsenal who made an offer of £40m plus £1 to trigger a release clause in his contract.
Last summer, said Suarez, Liverpool promised he could go if they did not finish in the top four. He believed he was supported by the players’ union and would make a formal complaint to the Premier League if Liverpool continued to be obstructive.
Suarez told the paper: “Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club [ed: Juventus] and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I’d be allowed to go.
“I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish. Now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement.
“I have the club’s word and we have the written contract and we [he and agent Pere Guardiola, Pep’s brother] are happy to take this to the Premier League for them to decide the case but I do not want it to come to that.
“It is not as if I am asking to move to a local rival and I would not consider moving to a club outside the Champions League. I have made my deseire known in private various times and now it feels like the time for me to make it public.”
Manager Brendan Rodgers has continued to maintain that Suarez is not for sale. Liverpool interpret the contract clause as a point at which they must listen to offers not a point at which they must sell the player whose contract has three years to run.
No such complexity surrounds the ‘third man’ in the Premier transfer elite. Gareth Bale’s world record transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid is largely secure. All that remains is haggling between the clubs over the precise financial terms.
Tottenham’s preferred negotiating stance is to wait until hours before the deadline to extract the highest possible fee. Realistically they cannot afford to delay too long. Then Spurs’ own serious targets will no longer be available or they will have to pay a ‘last-minute premium’ themselves.