Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Reds close in on Suarez

Luis Suarez

Liverpool's long pursuit of Ajax forward Luis Suarez is finally over after they agreed a deal worth up to £22.8million with the Dutch club.

The 24-year-old has yet to pass a medical and agree personal terms but those two issues are unlikely to be stumbling blocks.

Having argued over the Uruguay international's value for some time Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group have sanctioned their first major signing since buying the club in October.

The deal is a real statement of intent from the Americans and will go a long way to proving to the club's major stars - such as the likes of Fernando Torres and Jose Reina who have been calling for significant investment in the squad - that they are serious about restoring Liverpool to Europe's elite.

On Thursday the club revealed they had turned down a bid of £35million for Torres from Chelsea and had no intention of selling their star striker as they see him as a key part of their plan to turn things around.

Suarez's imminent arrival, which will give Torres some much-needed support up front, is a key moment in FSG's short three-month reign.

Much had been made of their approach to transfers, with the long-term plan being to bring in players who represent greater value.

However, last week chairman Tom Werner admitted they would be prepared to spend heavily on a star name if it benefited the club's long-term interest.

At 24, Suarez fits the profile of the type of player they have in mind, and he has been prolific in the Eredivisie, scoring 111 goals in 159 matches since joining the Dutch giants in the summer of 2007.

Werner stressed there were funds in place for transfers and they did not have to sell anyone in order to balance the books, unlike under the previous regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett when sales were sanctioned to pay off crippling interest repayments.

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