Luis Suarez has once again become the focal point of football after giving yet another interview to both the British and Spanish press. The interview was the most recent in a long string of antics that hint (a bit of an understatement, perhaps) that Suarez feels his time at Liverpool must end for the sake of his career.
The only club that has made a formal bid for the forward, who last season scored over thirty goals for the Reds, is Arsenal. That bid did not reach the valuation placed on the Uruguayans head by Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool ownership, and thus, ‘El Pistolero’ remains a Liverpool player.
It has also since been proven that Suarez does not have a clause in his contract which obliges Liverpool to sell should a Champions League club come calling with an offer in excess of 40 million pounds.
A few weeks, or even days ago, this news would have pleased Liverpool fans.
However, many fans have grown tired of Suarez and the way he has conducted himself after Liverpool have supported his many controversies. Many think, and they are quite right, that the support given to Suarez commands at least a respectful exit from the club.
Regardless of how frustrated those at the club are with Suarez, though, he must not be sold to Arsenal.
Suarez represents a player that can win matches by himself, a forward so unique and accomplished in his game that few can better him in terms of general ability. He’s got trickery, finishing ability, flair and the vision to both set up teammates and achieve the unthinkable.
When we talk of Suarez, we talk of a press disaster, but we also talk of a fantastic footballer. We talk of a footballer who may be worth fifteen points a season in a Premier League that is too close to call at the best of times.
Liverpool missed out on fourth spot last season, but this year look in better shape than they have for years. Coutinho looks like a player that could well win young player of the year, whilst Iago Aspas continues to exceed expectations. Steven Gerrard looks as fit as ever, as Sturridge will look to continue to impress after finishing last season with the highest goal-to-game ratio in the Premier League. Lucas is finally fit along with Kelly, Agger is Agger and Mignolet is yet to concede a goal in six games. Sterling and Ibe look ready to take the Premier League step and the squad as a whole looks to be gelled.
Fourth is a real possibility.
But neither are Spurs or Arsenal.
Theoretically, that leaves the two north London clubs and Liverpool fighting it out for fourth. Assuming Bale does leave to Real Madrid, Spurs will struggle, but will still be a force.
But let’s look at Arsenal and Liverpool.
At the moment, taking into consideration the summer window (to this point, I am aware there are still three weeks to go), I would say Liverpool and Arsenal are level in terms of ability.
Arsenal and Liverpool are fairly even in terms of defence, midfield and attack as things stand. In fact, Liverpool may even be stronger heading into this season.
If Suarez were to leave to Arsenal, Liverpool would have some catching up to do. Assuming he is worth five points a season, from being on par with Arsenal, Liverpool find themselves ten down. In a League as competitive as the Premier League and for a club of which so much is demanded in Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers can’t let that happen.
If Suarez leaves, the top four looks that much more unlikely.
It also marks Arsenal as a bigger club than Liverpool, which, given the current situation for Reds fans and players, would be another Luis Suarez-shaped hammer blow.
If Suarez is sold, it must be abroad. It must be to either Real Madrid or whoever comes calling. That way Liverpool are weakened, but no rival is strengthened and therefore the gap is much more manageable.
Suarez’s latest decision, to invite the Spanish press into his own home in order to give an interview, indicates that Suarez hasn’t given up on a move to the Bernabeu, though in his latest interview he states that the interest from Real has not yet materialised.
If Suarez is to leave, which is not yet completely certain, it must be abroad if Liverpool are serious about success next year. Thankfully, it seems Brendan Rodgers feels the same way.
Note: Many fans appreciate this already. This article is targeted at those who think selling him and buying a replacement (which is unlikely in three weeks) is the best option.