Luis Suarez deals blow to Arsenal with U-turn over Liverpool future
Luis Suarez has made an astonishing U-turn in his quest to leave Liverpool by claiming he wants to stay at the club, according to reports in Uruguay.
Suarez is currently on international duty in Tokyo as Uruguay prepare for their international friendly against Japan, and it had seemed the perfect break from all the speculation that has surrounded the striker this summer.
The 26–year-old has been determined to leave Liverpool up until now, declaring that the club reneged on their word they would sell him this summer if they failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal remain the only interested party in Suarez, having seen two bids – the second of £40m plus £1 leading them to believe they had activated a release clause – rejected by the Reds as they remained determined to hold on their star striker.
The Gunners had been planning to launch a final £50m offer for Suarez to meet Liverpool’s valuation of Suarez, and they could still follow up that path, although Suarez’s latest comments will not have come happily to Arsene Wenger’s ears.
“For now, due to all of the people’s affection (for me), I will be staying,” Suarez is quoted as saying in Uruguayan newspaper El Observador.
Martin Chaquero, who spoke to Suarez, also claimed that he had been told Suarez will remain on Merseyside and that he could even sign a contract extension.
“Luis Suarez confirms to me he will not leave Liverpool. The support of the fans has influenced his decision,” Chaquero said.
“Suarez see it as likely that he'll sign a renewal (extension) to the contract that binds him to Liverpool.”
Despite his comments, a new contract is far from being offered by Anfield officials, who are disgusted by the forward’s behaviour this summer after they supported him throughout his controversial Liverpool career to date.
Reds’ ad England captain Steven Gerrard did admit yesterday though that he wanted Suarez to remain at the club and hoped to use his influence to keep him with the five-time European champions.
“It’s very important he stays,” Gerrard said ahead of tonight’s international friendly against Scotland at Wembley. “He is one of the best players in the world. I can understand why clubs are showing an interest in him.
“If I can use my influence to make him stay I will. I love playing with him and I don’t want him to go.”
“For Liverpool to be successful and move forward we have to keep our best players. I don't know what will happen in the next two weeks. But I'm really confident he won't move to anyone else in England.”
Having been handed a transfer boost yesterday with target Luiz Gustavo admitting he would love to play for Arsenal, the news is an immediate blow to the north London club who are desperate to sign a new frontman to lead their promising attack.
The Gunners saw Gonzalo Higuain join Napoli after they came close to signing the Argentine for £23m, until Real Madrid ramped up the asking price to £34m which the club were unwilling to shell out.
Other targets on Wenger’s wish list included Stefan Jovetic – who joined Premier League rivals Manchester City for £27m – and Wayne Rooney who is in limbo between remaining with his current club Manchester United and moving south to join Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
This leaves Arsenal with very few options as the end of the transfer window looms ever closer, and officials at the Emirates are believed to be building a Plan B of attack should they fail to sign Suarez.
Both Swansea’s Michu and Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko are being reported as a potential target, although their prominent roles with their current clubs will pose a steep problem for Arsenal should they pursue either.
Dzeko has been given a fresh chance at the Etihad under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, and he has impressed throughout City’s pre-season, with the Chilean manager claiming he will stick by Dzeko to lead his talented frontline which also includes Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero.
Swansea meanwhile have brought in Wilfried Bony to support the signing of last season Michu, whose return on his £3m move was a key part in securing Michael Laudrup’s side the Capital One Cup as well as a ninth-place finish.
Both would attract bids of over £20m, and it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will commit to a transfer for either as their current activity in the player market has been almost non-existent, with the acquisition of France Under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer proving to be their only signing of the summer so far.
Belfast Telegraph Digital