As Luis Suarez continues international duty with Uruguay in the Confederations Cup, Liverpool are left to prepare for the worst when it comes to the striker's future. Although the Reds hope to keep him, they can't get caught without a backup plan.
The latest club to join the Suarez sweepstakes is Napoli. John Cross of the Daily Mirror reports the new Partenopei and former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is interested in bringing in the 26-year-old superstar to lead his attack, especially if Edinson Cavani leaves.
Benitez is resigned to losing Cavani, wanted by Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea, but is expected to receive around £50 million for the Uruguayan - and that will give him the spending power to go for Suarez, his national-team strike-partner.
The report comes shortly after Suarez continued to point toward Real Madrid as his preferred destination should he leave Anfield. But Liverpool won't consider moving him unless an official transfer request is made, according to Dominic King of the Daily Mail.
If Suarez is going to be sold to Real Madrid, as he desires, Liverpool will expect him to submit an official transfer request, while they would also want to recoup a fee in the region of £50 million. As yet, Madrid have not made a formal bid for the 26-year-old.
Napoli are unlikely to be the last club linked to Suarez. Every top-flight club from around Europe in need of striker help—and there are no shortage of those—will probably at least track his status given his strong performance over the past couple seasons.
The Uruguayan international is coming off a campaign in which he scored 23 Premier League goals, which ranked second behind Robin van Persie of Manchester United, and 10 assists. He often shined despite a lack of support on the attack at Liverpool.
Of course, the campaign ended on a low note when he was banned 10 matches for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Mental lapses like that have always held him back to a degree, but the production outweighs the poor decisions.
That explains why clubs like Real Madrid and Napoli, among others, are being linked to Suarez. He's worth the risk because of his goal-scoring track record.
Will Suarez be with Liverpool to start next season?
The situation should begin to clear up, at least a little bit, once Uruguay's run in the Confederations Cup comes to an end. At that point, Suarez's focus should shift back toward next season, and he can make his intentions clear.
Right now, it's clear clubs are starting to line up for an opportunity to land him should he decide to hand in the transfer request Liverpool is waiting for before taking the next step. If that happens, business should begin to pick up.
The most important thing for the Reds is finding a quick resolution before the saga gets completely out of control. If Suarez asks for a transfer, they should demand a major return and move him as quickly as possible. If he decides he's willing to stay, all the better.
The sooner it gets sorted out, the more time the club will have to address the remaining issues before next season.