Liverpool have been pragmatic thus far in the transfer market, uncharacteristically so in a way. Now it’s time for more of the same.
In the short term, the club may believe it to be in their best interest to hold on to Luis Suarez for as long as it takes – and that could mean so they don’t sell to Arsenal, or until Real Madrid come in with a bid worth considering. Over the long term, however, the Suarez saga represents a shackle preventing the club from continuing to strengthen and brushing away the dust from previous failed transfer outings.
Similarly in the argument against Arsenal signing Suarez, what good does it do for a club who finished seventh last season to keep hold a their star player who can’t play until sometime in late September/early October? The battle could be as good as lost then, by which time what does it matter if the Uruguayan comes back, scores a mountain of goals and gets his transfer next year? Don’t we just write this coming season off? Unless, of course, the Europa League is to everyone’s fancy.
And I’m still beating the drum of the fact that Suarez isn’t the only striker in the world capable of doing what he does. He isn’t the end of the road for Liverpool, just in the same way Fernando Torres wasn’t. The club are in transition – that hellish phase that normally amounts to a lack of serious excitement in the transfer market – but it’s the way football works, and it’s certainly the way it works when you make such unforgiveable mistakes with a sizeable transfer budget.
But who cares if it’s £35 – 40 million? The likelihood is that Liverpool are not going to get much more than that because the market dictates the price. In this case, there are only two reported clubs interested in the player. One, Arsenal, are said to have bid £40 million, but Liverpool, rightly, don’t want to sell domestically. Why then would Real Madrid bid even higher? The La Liga club are sitting pretty knowing that a want away striker is likely to fall into their lap because the selling club don’t want to sell to a league rival, even if their bid is a little higher.
So here’s the thing: Liverpool can remain resolute, fight the battle for the underdog in another David vs. Goliath transfer saga (though are Arsenal to be considered a Goliath? I’m not so sure), or they can get rid for a reasonable price – because £35 – 40 million is a good price for almost any world-class player – and restock and rebuild accordingly.
This is just another occasion where the whole thing about “no player is bigger than the club” is taking a hammering. Every Liverpool fan now, I’m absolutely sure, will support the line that the club comes first. But how much good will it do to keep Suarez for a protracted period of time just to make a point? It’s easy to forget that Liverpool could come away from all this looking like the better of all three (or four) parties. Civil war is breaking out among Arsenal fans over Suarez; the media in Madrid can and likely will slaughter the player if he pulls one of his tricks in Spain; all the while Liverpool get a healthy cash injection and replace smartly.
And that’s the end goal, to break into the top four this season or get as close as possible to continue the ascent the following year. Based on what we know now, Suarez is most certainly not going to be a part of it. There are strikers in Europe who can do a lot for Liverpool now and who look to the prospect of playing in the Premier League over the Champions League. Even Suarez himself was signed when Liverpool couldn’t offer Champions League football.
Remaining strong in the face of unsettled players and circling giants will only be of benefit for so long. Was it worth Tottenham’s effort to draw out the Luka Modric saga last summer, by which time they had little opportunity to bring in adequate replacements for that specific position? There is still a month and change left for Liverpool to carry on in this diligent fashion. Why scupper that over a transfer fiasco that only has one outcome?
Should Liverpool draw out this Suarez saga or get rid quickly?
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