Arsenal Transfer Rumors: The Pros and Cons of Signing Luis Suarez
A few weeks ago, Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, spoke about how Arsenal had become a financial force to be reckoned with, as he boldly stated that the club could go beyond their usual Scrooge-esque ways to sign a top quality player as well as paying astronomical wages if the need arises.
This was like music to the ears of some Arsenal fans, while others took it with a pinch of salt.
While the official website has been providing updates on preseason training, the new 2013-14 away kit and players that are going out on loan, the keyboard warriors of several sports columns have been extremely busy publishing ludicrous articles about Arsenal transfer rumors.
The media went on a frenzy in regard to the Gonzalo Higuain protracted transfer saga and it has become as tiring as seeing Lionel Messi score a goal for Barcelona.
Just when we thought that we had seen it all, The Telegraph and the Daily Express reported that the Gunners launched an audacious £30 million bid for Liverpool’s star striker, Luis Suarez, that was immediately rebuffed. The idea of Arsenal placing a bid of that humongous amount (it doubles the record transfer fee paid for Andrey Arshavin in 2009) is somewhat perplexing, because despite the fact that the club claims to have so much money in its coffers, it has never put its money where its mouth is, and the recent signings prove this fact.
Notwithstanding, it has been reported from The Telegraph and Daily Express that the Gunners actually made a bid for Luis Suarez, albeit it has been rejected, but in every rumor, there’s an element of truth.
Without further ado, here are the pros and cons of signing a talented player like Luis Suarez.
I prefer my bad news first, so I’ll start with the cons.
The Cons: His Biting Chronicles
Players always want to stand out for more reasons than one.
As great a player as Zinedine Zidane was, he will be forever remembered for his unfathomable moment of madness in the 2006 World Cup final (of all stages!), where he allowed his anger to get the better of him before headbutting Marco Materazzi. The referee didn't see the incident but after some communication with his officials, Zidane was brandished a red card.
That iconic act has been immortalized in France; a statue of Zidane headbutting Materazzi was unveiled in September 2012.
In the case of our dear ol’ Luis Suarez, he reverted to biting a fellow professional on two occasions.
The first incident occurred in a heated clash between Ajax and PSV Eindhoven in November 2010. The referee brandished a red card to Ajax’s Rasmus Lindgren for a rash challenge on PSV’s Ibrahim Afellay. Players from both sides became volatile, swarming around the official and away from the watchful eyes of the referee. Luis Suarez was involved in a bust-up with PSV’s Otman Bakkal, who stood on his foot, prompting the Uruguayan to take his pound of flesh off the midfielder’s shoulder.
As recently as three months ago in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea last season, Suarez salvaged a draw for his team with a late goal, but he dominated the headlines for biting Branislav Ivanovic on his arm, much to the player's bewilderment.
This earned him a 10-match ban, which also brought his season to an abrupt end. To make things worse, the ban continues into the new campaign as well. Some say that it was just a deliberate act to make things so unbearable that Liverpool may be forced to sell him, and these claims could be true.
He has bitten a player when he was in Ajax and he repeated the act in Liverpool. The chances of Suarez biting a player if he joined Arsenal are as high as finding no hair on Howard Webb’s head.
His Diving Theatrics
The despicable act known as diving.
This is a disgraceful act that can be the difference between a win, a draw and a loss; it is the act that has the potential to make a team lose a player for a crime he certainly didn’t commit.
When Liverpool hosted Arsenal two seasons ago, Luis Suarez conned the ref into awarding his side a penalty for his team, which was missed by Dirk Kuyt. On another day, Kuyt would have scored the spot kick (like the type he converted in the 101st minute at the Emirates during the 2010-11 season) and Liverpool would have been a goal to the good, if not for Suarez cheating.
When he committed the despicable act in a game against Stoke City, the Potters' manager, Tony Pulis, was so livid he requested for the player to be banned. There was even a time when Suarez added some humor to his diving shenanigans with his infamous "celebration" in front of David Moyes, when the Scotsman made some comments about his trademark act.
There are certainly no saints at Arsenal (Santi Cazorla dived against West Brom) but with a player like Suarez in Arsenal’s ranks, diving to win set pieces will become a norm, and this is something that needs to be eradicated from the game, not encouraged.
His Racial Incident with Patrice Evra
However, I was utterly disappointed when Luis Suarez racially abused Evra in October 2011, earning him an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine. Just when we thought that Suarez had put things to bed, he refused to shake Evra's hand, which caused a major stir in the football world.
They finally exchanged pleasantries in September 2012, but Suarez had already made his mark. Liverpool’s support for the player during the ordeal sent mixed responses and I certainly wouldn’t like to see a racist play for a club like Arsenal.
I’m sure other fans are in alignment with me on this one.
He’s Reportedly Unhappy in England
At the end of last season, Luis Suarez publicly declared his intentions (via Inside World Soccer) to leave England because the Press have been intruding into his private life:
“It’s a good moment for a change of environment because of all I've been through in England. I had a hard time, very hard, and the things that have been said are lies. One has limits and the family also suffers.
“It’s nothing against Liverpool, on the contrary, I feel very comfortable at the club but I have a daughter and I do not want her to hear bad things about her father.
“Being persecuted by the paparazzi all the time. I couldn’t go to my garden or the supermarket, I couldn’t do anything. I know it’s normal being followed by the press but it was too much.”
Looking at things from this perspective, there’s no point in bringing him from Liverpool to London, the epicenter of the media vultures. If he switches to the Emirates, he will be in the spotlight and I wouldn't be surprised if he publicly declares again that he wants to leave Arsenal.
I’ve brought out my flaming torch and pitchfork citing reasons why Arsenal shouldn’t sign Luis Suarez, but here are some reasons why Arsenal would be foolish not to consider a bid for the Uruguayan maverick.
The Pros: His Versatility
When Kenny Dalglish flushed Fernando Torres out to Chelsea for the British record transfer fee, he replaced the Spaniard with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. While Carroll spearheaded the attack, shooting blanks before his brace against Manchester City, Suarez settled into life in Liverpool and his influence within the team grew.
In his arrival at Liverpool, Suarez operated from the flanks, but the exit of Carroll to West Ham, coupled with injuries to players like Fabio Borini afforded Brendan Rogers to play the forward in his coveted central position that yielded much fruit.
If Suarez makes a move to Arsenal, his versatility will certainly come in handy as he will be able to deputize at the flanks or battle with Olivier Giroud in the center forward position.
His Amazing Attributes as a Footballer
Luis Suarez may have cost Liverpool a whooping £22.8 million, but neutral football lovers like me can confess that they have gotten value for their money. As a forward, he has so many amazing attributes that ranks him among the most complete footballers in the business.
The way he glides past defenders at times is the stuff of legends and he has raw reserves of pace that makes him burst past opposition defenders. His technique on and off the ball is really impressive. He’s also a dead-ball specialist, with his last free kick scored against Spain in the Confederations Cup giving Iker Casillas no chance in hell.
According to stats king, Sqwakwa, Suarez created more chances (89) than any of Arsenal’s forwards last season (Theo Walcott (38), Olivier Giroud (34), Lukas Podolski (31) and Gervinho (15)). Luis Suarez is also a lethal finisher and his records in the past are as a testament of this unique ability.
His Goal Scoring Tally is Truly Remarkable
In 327 professional games at the club level, Luis Suarez has scored an impressive 190 goals, and on the international scene, Suarez is now his nation’s all-time highest goalscorer with 35 goals, surpassing Diego Forlan’s record of 34 goals.
While his records in his first team, Nacional of Uruguay, and FC Groningen in Holland were very impressive, Suarez’s record in Ajax Amsterdam was exemplary, and he will be fondly remembered for his exploits in the 2009-10 season where he scored 49 goals in 48 games for Ajax in his debut season as club captain following Thomas Vermaelen’s departure to Arsenal.
Since joining Liverpool in the winter of 2010, he has scored 51 goals in 96 games and was the odds-on favorite to win the Golden Boot before his attempt to cannibalize Ivanovic. Before his lengthy ban, Suarez had scored 23 league goals while Robin van Persie had 21. While he was out for six games, RVP scored five more goals to retain the Golden Boot with 26 goals.
Arsenal are in dire need of a goal-scoring poacher and Suarez fits that bill if the Gunners' interest for Gonzalo Higuain wanes off.
Higuain was the very excitement Arsenal fans needed up to this point and there’s too much of a risk buying Suarez, as he would be a liability to himself and others. On the other hand, we all make mistakes in life (like Suarez) and get punished for it. If Arsenal sign a talented footballer like Luis Suarez, it will be a great addition to the team.
Here’s some food for thought: Despite his numerous shortcomings in the past, Liverpool want to hang on to Suarez and Real Madrid are battling hard to secure his services. So what makes Arsenal so special and better than these two clubs?
So there you have it, the pros and cons of signing Luis Suarez.