If Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has a say in Luis Suarez's transfer fate, the star striker will not be moving to Arsenal—or any other club—before the 2013-14 English Premier League season begins.
As noted by Sky Sports News on Twitter, Ayre reiterated his firm no-sell stance on the Uruguayan forward to reporters at a press conference in Thailand on Friday:
Sky Sports later had a formal report on Ayre's comments, and judging by the tone of the text, it's not a forgone conclusion that Arsene Wenger and the Gunners will be able to pull off a coup for Suarez before the transfer window closes.
"The situation with Luis Suarez remains the same," said Ayre in his Friday press conference. "It's never been our intention to sell Luis. We have received two separate offers from Arsenal and have rejected both. Luis remains a Liverpool player and is here with us in Thailand as part of our squad."
Ayre and the Reds would be wise to change that stance if Arsenal approaches the £50 million mark with a formal transfer bid.
According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, that is the number it's going to take for Liverpool to even consider a Suarez switch.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers was signing a different tune than Ayre about on Suarez on Friday. As reported by Sky Sports, the Liverpool coach told reporters that Arsenal would have to up their bid for Suarez to an appropriate value if they wanted to convince the Reds it was time to show Suarez the door.
He mentioned that Suarez still belongs to Liverpool and hopes professionalism will trump personal desire in the event that the striker stays at Anfield, but was nowhere near Ayre's firm stance.
Reading between the lines, it's almost as if Rodgers knows his days with Suarez are numbered.
Arsenal's first official bid for Suarez was a cheeky £40,000,001, a figure that triggered a clause in his contract that forced Liverpool to notify him of another club's interest.
Although the Reds promptly turned that bid down—along with a previous one of £35 million—it accelerated the process of Suarez being able to speak to another club about a transfer for the first time this summer.
According to Goal.com's Wayne Veysey, Suarez was preparing to submit a formal transfer request on Wednesday based on Arsenal's interest:
Rodgers might be taking a more diplomatic approach than his impassioned managing director, but according to Jack De Menezes of The Independent, the Liverpool manager has told his player that he would be making a mistake by leaving the Reds for the Gunners.
The prevailing opinion at Anfield right now appears to be that keeping Suarez is the right decision; however, Rodgers is one of the few that has publicly acknowledged that his club could face the reality of a transfer if things continue in the same direction.
If the Gunners can come up with the additional £10 million that it's reportedly going to take to make Reds management change their tune, Ayre would be wise to take what would be a hefty return for just one player.
There's little doubt that the 26-year-old star is one of the best players in Europe.
Suarez had 23 goals in 33 EPL matches last season. He is also coming off a strong performance for Uruguay at both the Confederations Cup and World Cup qualifying matches, scoring 11 goals in 13 starts for his country this year.
No matter where Suarez begins his next club season, he will not participate in his squad's first six games. After biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in an EPL match last year, Suarez will serve the remainder of his 10-match ban before taking the pitch in the upcoming season.
With Suarez's intentions clearly pointed toward moving to Emirates Stadium and Liverpool desperate to convince their star that European football is a possibility for the Reds right now, the three-way tug-of-war between the striker, Arsenal and Liverpool appears poised to continue.
Ayre plans on Liverpool winning that battle, but he, Rodgers and the Reds face an uphill climb to do so. In the immortal words of the Steve Miller Band, it would be better for Liverpool to take the money and run.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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