Luis Suarez has spent the better part of the last three seasons scoring goals to help Liverpool win matches at Anfield, but the storied pitch could soon be just another English Premier League road match for the Uruguayan if rumors are to be believed.
Suarez could be starring for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in lieu of returning for another season with Brendan Rodgers and the Reds.
Speculation continues to swirl around the star striker, and Arsenal appears to have made the most noise in getting Liverpool's attention before the transfer window closes.
To borrow the headline from Irwin's report, it appears that Suarez is Arsenal's to lose.
Before the Gunners can officially introduce Suarez in a new red jersey, Liverpool and the striker could have it out at an arbitration hearing.
As you can see in this tweet from The Telegraph, Suarez and Liverpool's private battle could turn public very quickly if he continues to try and force his way to Arsene Wenger's outfit.
The Reds originally rebuffed bids for their 26-year-old Uruguayan forward earlier this summer, but the Gunners have forced Liverpool's hand by posting an official bid of £40,000,001 earlier this week.
As reported by BBC Sport's David Ornstein and Ben Smith on Wednesday, Liverpool is holding out for a higher offer; however, they were officially forced to face the reality of losing Suarez because of the specific Arsenal bid.
The extra pound triggered a clause in Suarez's current Anfield contract that required the Reds to let him know that Arsenal had interest in his services and allowed the player to speak to Arsenal about a new contract before a transfer fee needs to be finalized.
Although Arsenal's opening bid was promptly rejected, it opened up the lines of communication between Suarez and the Gunners. Nothing's final yet, but as Goal.com's Wayne Veysey reported on Twitter, Suarez has told management that he wants to join Arsenal:
According to Mirror's John Cross, the Gunners are going to have to increase their opening bid by 25 percent.
Cross' report claims that Liverpool has admitted they will sell the striker to the Gunners, but not at the rate that opened up negotiations. If Suarez is leaving, it's reportedly going to cost Arsenal closer to £50 million.
It's unclear which side will budge first. Suarez and Arsenal have leverage over the Gunners because of his clear discomfort in playing with Liverpool next season, but the Reds can also milk this deal for everything it's worth as Wenger launches a late push for a huge signing.
According to Cross, the Gunners are unlikely to hit the £50 million mark.
That being said, Arsenal has advertised deep pockets during the current transfer window. Wenger has made small moves to upgrade the roster this offseason, but Suarez would easily be his club's biggest haul.
If you listen to Tim Payton of ArsenalTrust.org, the Gunners have the funds to approach Liverpool's latest request. His tweet suggests that Wenger is working with enough money to complete a Suarez transfer and several others:
Suarez is clearly one of the top talents in the Premier League right now. He scored 23 times in 33 league games last season, and has since added another 11 for Uruguay in 13 international matches.
The striker took some time away from the Reds after playing for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup, but on Wednesday, he did not look like a player who spent that time reenergizing his effort for the club in a return to the pitch.
He assisted new signing Iago Aspas' late goal against Melbourne Victory, but his reaction to what should have been a big play was anything but.
Reds fans everywhere have to feel like the writing is on the wall.
It's understandable that Liverpool would want to hang on to his talents as they push to rejoin the EPL elite, but a £50 million transfer bid from Arsenal combined with Suarez's unhappiness might be enough to convince Rodgers and company that it's in the best interests of all parties to sell.
One thing is clear: Suarez is closer to leaving Anfield than he has been since we last saw him in a Reds uniform. Only time will tell if Arsenal can close the door on landing one of the most talented strikers in the world for Wenger's lineup next season.
Ethan Grant is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team. You can follow him (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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