If Liverpool hopes to have any chance of finishing in the top four next season and reaching the Champions League—and really, nothing less should be acceptable at Anfield—the club absolutely cannot lose star striker Luis Suarez this summer.
Atletico will have upwards of £40 million to spend in the summer after finally resigning themselves to losing their pin-up centre forward Radamel Falcao, who has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea next season, and will command a massive fee when the sale is confirmed.
The problem though would be Suarez's wages, with the Uruguay international signing a new deal at Anfield last summer worth in excess of £5million a year.
That is where Azerbaijan comes in, with Atletico asking their sponsors to inject 6million Euros a year into the club to pay the South American's wages in a bid to tempt him to the club.
Sure, Suarez can be a pain in the butt with some of his antics, namely his most recent biting incident that cost him 10 Premier League games due to suspension. But where would Liverpool be without the 30 goals and five assists he provided this season?
For all of the headaches he brings, Suarez was arguably the best striker in the Premier League this season. His cutting runs, touch on the ball and clinical finishing makes him the perfect forward atop Brendan Rodgers 4-3-3 system, which thrives on possession and spacing the defense across the pitch.
Liverpool are likely to have a limited budget to improve at several key areas such as winger, holding midfielder and centre-back. While the sale of Suarez would bring plenty of money to improve the squad, would the Reds be able to land a striker as well matched for Rodgers' system as Suarez?
Or one with as much of a proven scoring touch in the Premier League?
It's unlikely. There's reason to be excited about the future of Liverpool. Behind Suarez, Philippe Coutinho has shown some true moments of brilliance. Players like Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have improved. Raheem Sterling has shown flashes while the best football is still ahead of Fabio Borini.
And Steven Gerrard is, well, Steven Gerrard.
So this team needs to add a few key pieces, not sell off their best piece. Only if they have a guarantee that they can bring back an elite striker on the transfer market—I'm talking players like Edinson Cavani, Stevan Jovetić or Robert Lewandowski here, not Loic Remy or Christian Benteke—should they sell Suarez.
Otherwise, those Champions League aspirations will go wanting.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!