Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Luis Suarez to Barcelona: Liverpool to open official talks over £80m transfer deal involving Alexis Sanchez

Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his children as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his daughter as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay's soccer player Luis Suarez holds his daughter as he greets fans from their home's balcony on the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay, Friday, June 27, 2014. Suarez returned to Montevideo early Friday, arriving too late to see the hundreds of Uruguay fans who had gathered the previous night to give him a hero's welcome despite his World Cup banishment. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  A woman takes a photo next to an advertisement featuring Uruguay's Luis Suarez on Copacabana Beach on June 26, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Suarez has been banned by FIFA for four months following a biting incident during a match.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A woman takes a photo next to an advertisement featuring Uruguay's Luis Suarez on Copacabana Beach on June 26, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Suarez has been banned by FIFA for four months following a biting incident during a match. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The biggest transfer saga of this summer’s World Cup finals is by no means over yet, but there appears to be a consensus on both sides that Luis Suarez will be a Barcelona player by the end of the transfer window.

The Liverpool chief executive, Ian Ayre, will meet a Barcelona delegation in London on Wednesday for the first talks over the sale of Luis Suarez, with the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez a key part of the Premier League club’s demands.

It is understood that Wednesday’s meeting is the first official talks between the clubs on the Suarez-Sanchez deal.

Liverpool have set an £80m valuation on their banned striker, who is not eligible to play club football until November, and is still at his home in Uruguay.

They have had one bid for Sanchez rejected by Barcelona already this summer, and see the Chilean striker, valued by his current club at around £30m, as a crucial part of their new-look side for the Champions League next season.

Liverpool have completed the acquisition of Adam Lallana from Southampton for £23m and are also expected to sign Belgium international Divock Origi for £9.8m.

The Sanchez-Suarez deal is the key, however, and much will depend on how talks progress. Suarez is still likely to go ahead with an appeal against his four-month “football activity” ban from Fifa. He is hopeful that the governing body will at least allow him to train during that period of time.

Barcelona made little secret of their intentions on Tuesday when their sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta described Suarez as “humble” for having apologised to Giorgio Chiellini on Monday for biting the Italian.

Zubizarreta was speaking at a press conference to introduce the club’s new Croatian midfield signing Ivan Rakitic. Asked about the club’s potential interest in Suarez, Zubizarreta said: “Suarez has shown he is humble enough to admit an error, which is very important.

“He has been humble enough to apologise to those he has affected, because it happened in the middle of a festival of football.

Luis Suarez made contact with the Italy defender before going to ground. Giorgio Chiellini then accused him of biting his shoulder
Luis Suarez made contact with the Italy defender before going to ground. Giorgio Chiellini then accused him of biting his shoulder
Mario Balotelli of Italy greets Luis Suarez of Uruguay prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Mario Balotelli of Italy greets Luis Suarez of Uruguay prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay is interviewed after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez of Uruguay is interviewed after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

"In this case it’s the best thing a person can do. Everyone knows that Luis is an excellent player, everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player.”

Rakitic, signed for £14m from Seville said: “The fact he [Suarez] has had the character and the strength to go in front of everyone and say sorry says a lot about him as a person.

“Not every person has that strength to admit they have done something stupid. I rarely say that I am wrong so this says a lot about him, he has shown the character and strength he has so he should be commended for that.

“Regardless of whether the club signs him or not, his quality is unquestionable. He has shown a lot of quality with Uruguay and scored more than 30 goals [last season] with Liverpool, so he has the necessary quality to play for Barça.”

Having signed a five-year contract at Liverpool, Lallana told the club’s in-house television station that he had watched the team last season hoping that he would one day part of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

“It is a huge step,” said Lallana. “Liverpool has so much history and after the season they had last season I can’t wait to get started and build on that. Watching the run-in towards the end of last season it was unbelievable.

“It got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up just watching the style of football. Deep down I was thinking to myself, ‘One day hopefully I’ll be able to play in that team’.

“Five or six years ago I was playing in League One but it is reality we’ve climbed up the leagues and done so well and I’d like to think I’m here on merit and have earned it and I’d like to continue improving playing with world-class players.”

Luis Suarez 'in love with Barcelona'

Uruguayan president Jose Mujica says Fifa are 'a bunch of old b******s'

What if Luis Suarez knows exactly what he’s doing? 

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