While Luis Suarez continues to find the net for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup, the Liverpool forward is surrounded by speculation over whether he will find a new club in the transfer window. Suarez will no doubt have plenty of options should he decide to leave Anfield, but of all his potential suitors, the possibility of moving to Spanish giants Real Madrid should be the most tempting.
There is certainly no shortage of rumours linking the temperamental Uruguayan with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Simon Mullock of the Mirror believes that, while Los Merengues remain committed to bringing Suarez to the Spanish capital, they will bide their time to strike. The forward's buyout clause is a daunting £40 million, but waiting until August and the final days of the transfer window, as they did with Michael Owen, could yield a more agreeable price as Liverpool are pressed to offload a player unhappy with life in England.
Suarez has six matches left of his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, and the punishment would still be enforced in Spain; conversely it means that Madrid have no rush to sign a player who would sit out the opening fixtures of the season. The noises coming from the man himself are also encouraging.
"A player always aspires to be at the top of their profession and Madrid is at the top for any football player," the ex-Ajax and Nacional star told El Pais (via Sky Sports), adding that he was "disturbed" by the prospect of missing a season of Champions League football due to Liverpool's failure to qualify.
Moving to Madrid would certainly give him the opportunity to star in Europe's top competition. But what other motives make Real the best choice?
With Gonzalo Higuain apparently on the way to Arsenal, according to David Hytner of The Guardian, Suarez would jostle for position with Karim Benzema as first-choice centre-forward for Madrid. The striker managed 30 goals last season in a mediocre Liverpool side, and he would surely thrive in a side boasting the attacking quality currently available in Madrid.
Just as the presence of Diego Forlan playing in the hole has helped Suarez rack up the goals for Uruguay over the years, Mesut Ozil could prove to be the perfect foil with his intelligent passing and vision in the final third.
Madrid, in turn, would be gaining a striker who is far more complete than Higuain; although he would have his work cut out wresting the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo in order to take free kicks.
Playing alongside Edinson Cavani as well, Suarez has proved that he is untroubled by sharing goalscoring duties with a second, more direct and physical forward.
Whether the transfer goes through or not will depend heavily on how the Madrid management believe he can link up with the untouchable Ronaldo, but a look back on the Uruguayan's career to date suggests that this would be a fruitful partnership.
Succeeding in the Bernabeu, one of football's most demanding and claustrophobic stages, requires a big personality, as well as no shortage of self belief bordering on arrogance; there is no doubt that these are qualities not lacking in the single-minded Suarez. Love him or loathe him, this is one player who will not be overawed by a move to Madrid.
Liverpool will need first to be convinced to sell the striker who, for good or bad, never stays away from the headlines, but Madrid would be well-advised to gamble on the goalscorer and make him their top target for the transfer window.
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