Luis Suarez has a reputation: good, bad, dangerous, full of goals and immensely talented.
With his Liverpool career looking set to end this summer, the Uruguayan has recently been high on the wanted list for Arsenal. Reports suggest the Gunners have placed a £35m offer for the Liverpool striker with 23 league goals in 33 matches last season.
Before Suarez, Arsenal did look set to sign Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain for around £30m, although, the deal looks to be on hold.
Manager Arsene Wenger has been working on season preparations in the Far East and pressure has since increased on the Frenchman to make some moves in the transfer market.
Suarez, or Higuain, could present an interesting case for Arsenal. The London club have far from a notable history of using the chequebook, with their record transfer fee standing at just at £15m, after transfer add-ons, for Andriy Arshavin on the final day of the window in 2009.
Arsenal made a significant outlay in 2012 with Malaga’s Santi Cazorla costing £12m and proving every-penny worth the fee. Three years ago, Wenger was given the same price to sign Frenchman Samir Nasri.
Only last month, CEO Ivan Gazidis said publicly Wenger had a £70m warchest to sign new players during this window alone. Yet, business talk has been quiet at the Emirates Stadium – and rumours of Higuain, Suarez, Rooney, and others, seem to contain an element of desperation.
Uruguayan striker Suarez, 26 years of age, has brought headlines to the UK since arriving from Ajax in 2007—certainly both positive and negative.
Scoring once every other Premier League game, Suarez looks to have thrived on the pitch under Brendan Rodgers. He has blamed his new desire to leave Liverpool on a witch-hunt from the mainstream media.
Incidents, such as, biting Branislav Ivanovic last season, racially abusing Patrice Evra, then subsequently refusing to shake his hand, have brought a cloud over his performances in the English game.
£30m is certainly a big price, and extra pressure. For Arsenal, a striker has got to be a priority. The club has already missed the boat on Mario Gomez, a potential bargain at £20m, Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina and David Villa who opted for Atletico Madrid.
Suarez will offer goals and talent – but the player could upset the team harmony within the club. Of course, in the context of the Premier League comparing transfer fees is difficult, but Suarez looks to fall below the standing of value for money.
The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – he joined Borussia Dortmund for £13m – and Adam Szalai, now of Schalke, cost just £10m. Value for money is certainly available on the continent, and a £70m warchest could be spent astutely to Arsenal’s favour.
Wenger has come under scrutiny for the Gunners’ lack of spending in the transfer market, which looks to have stagnated their progress in recent years.
From regular Premier League contenders, to struggling to secure Champions League football, Arsenal’s demise has been down to mismanagement in the transfer market – and a lack of financial outlay.
But spending big, for spending’s sake isn’t the path Arsenal want to follow this season.