Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Luis Suarez to Barcelona: Catalan club steps up bid to land Reds striker

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)

Liverpool and Barcelona have held "productive talks" over the potential transfer of star striker Luis Suarez, currently serving a four-month ban for biting an opponent at the World Cup.

Reds chief executive Ian Ayre met officials from the Catalan club as the Primera Division side made their opening move in the bid to take the Uruguay international to the Nou Camp.

Another meeting is scheduled to take place to continue the negotiations.

"The talks were productive, with sensible expectations on both sides," said an Anfield source.

"Further talks and discussions will take place in due course. Nothing is finalised as of now."

Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool were adamant before negotiations began that they would not sell Suarez (27) for less than his confidential buy-out clause, believed to be between £70million and £80million.

The club are confident after the initial discussions that a deal can be done in line with their valuation.

Barcelona may offer Chile forward Alexis Sanchez as a makeweight and it is understood negotiations are taking place considering both options – a straight money deal and also the option of a player-plus-cash alternative.

The latter would seem more likely, but that depends on Sanchez, with the suggestion in Spain he is not that keen at this point on a move to England.

Suarez is currently banned for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile Liverpool have completed the signing of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can after a deal to bring the Germany Under-21 star was agreed last month.

The Reds had to wait until the summer transfer window officially opened on July 1 in order to register the necessary paperwork and international clearance on the £10million move, which has now been done.

Can is Liverpool's third signing this summer alongside Southampton duo Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.

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