Liverpool are in Indonesia at the moment without Luis Suarez, yet the Uruguayan’s influence is still everywhere.
Flick on a television channel, click on a web page or turn to the sports section of a newspaper and you’ll see Suarez’s image. More often than not, it’ll be positioned next to the latest set of quotes from the forward which are seemingly designed to drum up as much interest in him as possible as he eyes a move to a club in the Champions League (BBC).
Arsenal have been the first to so willingly and publicly show their hand (Daily Telegraph), Chelsea remain lurking in the background―at least until the conclusion of their pursuit of Wayne Rooney (BBC)―whilst even further in the shadows are Real Madrid, a club that Suarez has admitted he’d “find it hard to say no to” and one which are reportedly getting ready to make their move for a player who would surely be a smash hit in La Liga (Daily Mirror).
But what of Liverpool?
What happens when the Suarez circus leaves town, leaving with it nothing but a string of memories, a couple of sensationalist controversies and a fee of at least £40 million?
For that is the minimum that the Reds would accept for their best player, leading goalscorer and key influence. The key question is: if they do end up with that amount in their pocket, just what do they do with it?
Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas have all arrived to strengthen various sections of the squad already, but the vast bulk of that money spent was recouped by the sales of Andy Carroll to West Ham and Jonjo Shelvey to Swansea City. A Suarez sale would bolster the coffers significantly.
The key conclusion to be drawn from any sale of the Uruguayan would be that Liverpool would instantly need to add craft, creativity and goals to their team. Aspas, Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini and others all have talent, but none are at the level of Suarez.
Very few are, though. Arguably, you can only count them on the fingers of one hand.
Liverpool’s status as a club in the non-Champions League wilderness means that they find it tough to attract players of top quality any more―something that they found out when Henrikh Mkhitaryan went to Borussia Dortmund.
They can, however, attract younger players who will be looking for a next step up in their career, such as Alberto, Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and potentially Coutinho’s Brazilian compatriot Bernard.
The 20-year-old Atletico Mineiro winger has five caps for his country, and his energetic performances have attracted the interest of several top European clubs, ensuring that Liverpool have plenty of fierce competition for his signature (Daily Mirror).
Whilst a move for Christian Eriksen of Ajax may be considered more likely, a bid of around £20 million may be enough to secure Bernard’s services, and if Liverpool act fast, then they could soften the blow of losing Suarez with another of South America’s top talents.
Another area of the Reds’ team that needs some attention is the centre of defence.
Toure is a solid addition, and Daniel Agger has become a Liverpool stalwart, but with question marks over the futures of Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates mean that another addition in that area may be needed.
Toby Alderweireld is a name that has been linked to the club for a while (Daily Express), and with the Suarez money on board Brendan Rodgers would be able to easily afford a bid for the classy Belgian defender who looks certain to leave Ajax this summer, and who we looked closely at earlier this week.
A less pressing but ultimately important squad addition could also be made with the Suarez money.
Lucas Leiva continues to boss Liverpool’s midfield, but as proven during his lengthy spells on the treatment table in the last two seasons, he is in need of quality backup.
Joe Allen is better further forward, and Rodgers is seemingly unconvinced about Jay Spearing, and so a quality deep-lying midfielder might just be an important addition for the Reds.
Identifying and signing one is another matter of course, but if one can be found and added to the other two signings, then it could well prove to be a profitable summer for the Reds, despite the exit of their box office forward.
His influence remains everywhere, but perhaps it won’t be in Liverpool for much longer.
That needn’t be the end of the world, though.
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