Speculation, as it often is, is rife around the future of Luis Suarez at Liverpool Football Club. From Bayern Munich (via Express) to Atletico Madrid (via Daily Mail) and Juventus FC (via Daily Mail) in between, the Uruguayan striker has constantly been linked with a move away from Anfield this summer.
At the end of March, even if Liverpool failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the club was 100 percent certain that their star striker would honor his contract (via BBC Sport).
But that was before the English Football Association taxed him 10 games for biting Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovic in late April.
It is the player himself that has remained mum about his intentions. Given the historical reception (via ESPN FC) that his words in the press have received, it is not surprising.
The hoopla around the fire-starting South American’s offseason decision aside, here is a look at four reasons why the ace should consider staying on the Merseyside.
Amongst giants: Suarez is flanked by two club megaliths.
Luis Suarez is the first player to net 30 goals for Liverpool FC in a single season since Fernando Torres did it in the 2007/08 season and only the twelfth to have done it in the club’s history (via liverpoolfc.com).
That, and scoring on his debut, has gone a long way to scratching an outline of him as a Liverpool legend. Leaving over the summer under a cloud, however, will more than likely relegate him to an unfortunate footnote in Liverpool history. A fact that will follow him wherever he ends up.
He also has something left to prove. He needs to prove that when he leaves English football it will be on his own terms, not forced out by condemnation or public sentiment—something that ex-Liverpool ace and fellow 30-goal man John Aldridge highlighted in his Liverpool Echo article.
Using the club and its fans’ support—along with his staggering talent—Suarez can create a staging ground to launch the catatonic giant's return to former glory, thereby penning both his lore and headlines in indelible ink.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.
Asked to shoulder the striking responsibilities alone for the first half of the season, Brendan Rodgers’ double move for Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in the January window provided Luis Suarez with much-needed backup.
And quite the backup it has proven to be.
Sturridge has flourished in his role as a striker. Sunday’s hat-trick puts the former Chelsea FC man at 10 goals in 13 games this season (via ESPN FC).
Philippe Coutinho has been an equally bright spark since his January move from FC Inter Milan, notching two goals in his 11 games. But it is the Brazilian playmaker’s vision and industry in contributing seven assists (via transfer markt) that will be of most interest to Rodgers and Suarez. His ability as a set up man will allow the Uruguayan striker the freedom to do what he does best—maraud.
Combined, the three have accounted for half (35) of the team’s total goal tally (70) this season. Given that this was accomplished in only half a season, Suarez might have a reason to stick around Anfield to see how much damage the trio can inflict on defenses across England over the course of an entire season.
Revered in the cathedral that is Anfield, the oft-maligned South American striker is celebrated with his own hymn. The backing from Anfield faithful has continued unabated despite the Uruguayan’s indiscretions, which have touched on the ridiculous at times.
No matter how negative press may have tarnished his shine to the rest of the footballing world, he has never lost his luster to the supporters of the Liver bird. His apology to those “people who I offended at Anfield” (via Mirror) after biting Ivanovic is evidence that he understands that relationship. And, more importantly, respects it.
Search as he might, it is a connection that Suarez will never enjoy or recreate at another club. It is also one that he can harness to both buoy and spur him. By staying, he can repay his fans’ trust by becoming the player that is truly worthy of their praise on the pitch.
And to all a good night: Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement has interesting implications for the EPL.
Manchester City has no boss. Manchester United has a new one (leaving Everton FC without one). Chelsea FC is, well, Chelsea FC and with the final Champions League spot very much up for grabs, the result of this Sunday’s clash against Newcastle United might see Arsenal FC in Europa League action with a new boss.
The tectonic shift in the English Premier League’s managerial bedrock means that the 2013/14 season Top Four topography could be a markedly different one.
If Rodgers can exhibit the same transfer acumen over the summer that he did in January, he can take advantage of the power vacuum that invariably follows managerial gerrymandering and start moving back toward the upper echelons of the league.
With the swirling uncertainty around the traditional powerhouses, and its strong finish to the season, Liverpool could well be the team to be seen with next season. It’s a situation that Luis Suarez could take advantage of and lead Liverpool back to former glory.
It’s the type of story that the 26-year-old won’t be able to tell by leaving for a ready-made success story.