Let the Luis Suarez summer soap opera begin!
The star striker and controversial figure made waves last week when he announced he wanted to leave Liverpool. With plenty of interest around the world in the forward, that opened up the rumor floodgates.
But Liverpool shouldn't get rid of their star figure without bringing back a boatload of cash in the deal.
We start with Suarez's desire to leave, via Ed Malyon of the Mirror on May 31:
So, there it is then, Luis Suarez has confirmed that he would like to Liverpool.
In a press conference last night he blamed the press for his decision to leave the club but insisted that there are no offers on the table—contrary to reports in Marca this week.
Despite the denials of his agent just a couple of days ago, the Uruguay forward simply couldn't hold it down any longer and has explicitly said—on television—that this will be his decision.
Of course, the club swiftly responded with the following statement (via the Mirror):
Luis Suarez is not for sale—neither Luis or his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to LFC. The Club remains supportive of Luis and expect him to honour his contract. We will not be making any further comment at this stage.
Both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are thought to be very, very interested, with Bayern Munich possibly joining the fray as well. But don't expect Liverpool to let the forward go for a penny less than the £50 million valuation they've given him.
If you are Liverpool, any sale of Luis Suarez should take into account the following considerations:
- Can Suarez be moved outside of the Premier League?
- Can the club get £50 million back in the deal?
- Can the team replace the excitement Suarez brings to the pitch? He may be a public relations nightmare but he's also Liverpool's most exciting player and would be extremely marketable if he didn't bite opponents or racially abuse them.
- Does the team have players lined up to sign that can replace Suarez's 30 goals and five assists from this season?
The latter point might be covered if Suarez is sold to Real Madrid, as ESPN reported the club would require Gonzalo Higuain be sent to Anfield in any deal. That could end up being a tidy piece of business and allow Liverpool to address other needs at centre-back, central midfield and winger.
Liverpool must improve as a club if Suarez is sold. The team must bring in a small fortune for the forward and use it to add players at positions of need that will help the team qualify for the Champions League next year.
Suarez is replaceable, but he must be replaced with the right players. That's the key here.
At this point, Liverpool supporters should want him gone. His behavior at times is reprehensible, he clearly doesn't want to play for the club anymore and he didn't have the decency to keep that desire between himself and the club, in the process seriously damaging any leverage Liverpool might have in transfer negotiations.
In other words, now that all of Europe knows Suarez wants out, expect them to lowball Liverpool, hoping the Reds fear having an unhappy striker on their hands next season.
If Liverpool play this right, they can use the small fortune they get from the Suarez deal to continue the rebuilding process. If they play this wrong, however, the club will be set back for years to come.