Belfast Telegraph

Shameless Suarez will spur Brendan Rodgers on at Liverpool

By Steven Beacom

Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale. Sick of them and their transfer sagas yet?

If you aren't, I know three men who are. Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes and Andre Villas-Boas, the respective managers of Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Despite some comments to the contrary emanating from White Hart Lane, Bale's £100 million move to Real Madrid will happen.

The Welshman may have stayed silent so far on the prospect of a switch to the Bernabeu, but Spurs are under no illusions. They know he wants out and at that price – twice his worth even in an exaggerated market – they'll take it in the knowledge that Bale can't come back and haunt them because Madrid and Tottenham aren't in the same league... in every sense.

Rooney and Suarez are more complicated. Again in every sense.

United's Rooney wants to move to title rivals Chelsea, who have had two bids turned down for the England star.

Liverpool's Suarez wants to move to top four rivals Arsenal, who have had two bids turned down for the Uruguayan, one of which was a cheeky offer of £40 million and a quid believing that would activate a clause in his contract enabling a sale.

It would not make sense for United or Liverpool to sell to their rivals, though sense tends to fly out the transfer window.

Like Bale, Rooney has yet to go public, but journalists have been well briefed about his desire to quit Old Trafford, unable to forget his fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson last season. He believes the great Scot's shadow will still be hovering over him, even though Fergie has been replaced by Moyes.

The other factor here, which seems to have gone virtually unnoticed, is just how much Rooney wants to play for Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea boss has a magnetic appeal. Rooney is not the first to be drawn towards the 'Special One'.

Suarez, of course, has made his feelings abundantly clear. Since last season ended and the summer began, the Uruguayan has been quoted more times than you've had barbecues!

When foreign players are away on international duty, it's par for the course that they shout their mouth off about future plans, but they tend to know their place when back on club duty.

Not shameless Suarez, who, this week in Liverpool, dropped an almighty bombshell by claiming the club and Rodgers had broken promises to him about leaving and that he was intent on going come what may.

Suarez's comments have been deemed as an act of betrayal by the Anfield boss, his staff and the fans who backed the gifted striker, like a mum supporting an errant son, despite the racism, biting, diving and all of his appalling behaviour.

This season is massive for both Rodgers and Moyes. It hasn't even started yet and already they are facing stern tests of their management skills.

When replying to Suarez's bitter outburst, with the sort of straight talking that he learnt growing up in Carnlough, Rodgers reminded the player of his responsibilities to the club, making it clear that he would take action in an attempt to bring Suarez into line.

Rodgers is a good guy, but he didn't get this far, aged just 40, without being a tough cookie.

The County Antrim native has big aims for Liverpool and he intends to achieve them, with or without Suarez, who has been ordered to train away from the first team because of recent lack-lustre performances.

Brendan told me last season that in the aftermath of the Suarez biting controversy he became a better manager. He'll feel this will make him stronger too which can only be beneficial to a club still stunned by being stabbed in the back by the petulant, grumpy South American.

While Rodgers publicly blasted Suarez for showing a lack of respect to Liverpool, all Moyes has said on the subject of Rooney is that he is not for sale. He remains convinced that problems can be ironed out with the England ace.

Taking over from Ferguson was always going to be an almighty challenge, but David, whose mum hailed from Portrush, must feel that just a mile into the journey he has run into a car crash.

Moyes is clever enough to know that he can't let Mourinho get his hands on Rooney and reinvigorate a talented player who has been off colour for too long.

Like Ferguson a few years ago Moyes, must persuade the unsettled player to stay and make peace with United followers or offload him for a hefty price abroad having recruited top class replacements.

Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid when Bale jets into Spain would be perfect, but that's a long shot.

Moyes must start as he means to go on, stand firm and win this battle. He'll gain respect from everyone if he does and can then move on with confidence and conviction.

Belfast Telegraph


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