This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
A tweet that has now gone down in Liverpool folklore, club owner John W Henry famously wrote: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at the Emirates?”
This was in response to Arsenal’s £40m+£1 bid for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, which they were aware would be enough to get the Merseysiders to inform the player of the bid and begin negotiations – as revealed by former Arsenal transfer fixer Dick Law.
To be ridiculed by the actual owner of Liverpool, enough so that the tweet is still up on Henry’s account to this day and has nearly 60k retweets, isn’t fair on the Gunners.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?
— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
Yes, it was a unique offer, but what would the point have been in offering £50k, £500k or even £1m if the north Londoners were aware that anything over £40m would trigger the agreement? The backlash that the offer faced makes no sense whatsoever.
#LFC should refuse to do any business with Arsenal after last night. Told a fortnight ago that £40m wouldn't be enough so they add £1.
— Jack (@_jdhw) July 24, 2013
Even if it was the starting point of negotiations it was still a massive insult to liverpool and badly thought out
— tony wils (@tonywilson68) July 5, 2019
You disrespected Liverpool as a football Club for adding that extra solitary pound…You probably thought we were broke and desperate.
— Czed…?? (@Timczed1) July 5, 2019
Lol never forget when Arsenal bid £40 million + 1 pound for Suarez
— ivan (@GenieWijnaldum) July 5, 2019
Who still remembers when Arsenal bid £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez at Liverpool? ? what was the £1 for? To buy airtime? ?
The guys in charge of that club's transfers are psychos
— Judah Idowu (@IdowuJudah) July 1, 2019
So the Gunners have bid £40 million for Zaha…?….haven’t they forgotten that deal clincher here ??…that extra £1 on top of the £40 million that these clowns offered for Suarez a few years back…?? @Arsenal
— Bal Mann (@BalMann15) July 1, 2019
The offer did in fact get the ball rolling and Suarez even told The Guardian that he felt Liverpool should let him leave so he could play Champions League football and honour their promise to him.
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But for Steven Gerrard convincing the former Ajax man to stay put, Arsenal may have got their man and it would’ve been because of the cheeky offer.
Law reveals that anything over the £40m mark was enough to force Liverpool to inform the 6 foot striker of the offer – something that clubs aren’t obliged to do usually – and allowed the striker to discuss a transfer to the Emirates.
The Gunners knew that it wasn’t a buyout clause, or a release clause, or anything like that.
As a result, they almost got what they wanted from offering just a pound over £40m, and if Gerrard hadn’t been able to convince his teammate to stay put, we may have instead been discussing Arsenal’s cheeky offer as a transfer masterstroke instead of the harsh joke that it has now become.