Luis Suarez Transfer News and Rumours Tracker
And so it rumbles on.
The Luis Suarez transfer saga continues to both intrigue and in many cases bore football fans across the globe, with the Uruguay forward still stationed at Liverpool despite interest from Arsenal and Real Madrid.
Here's the latest news this week:
Ian Ayre: 'Suarez Is Staying'
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In the latest of many declarations of intent to keep last season's top goalscorer, Liverpool left it to their managing director Ian Ayre to underline their position over Suarez.
Speaking to Sky Sports News as part of the channel's 92Live day, when it reported live from all 92 league clubs, Ayre made it clear that the Reds are not interested in selling the forward.
We've got Luis Suarez in our squad, he'll have trained today and he's working hard.
Despite what people think we've not had an intention of selling Luis, we've never said we want to sell Luis.
He continues to work hard and train hard for Liverpool. That will continue and I'll expect him to be here at the start of the season.
The MD confirmed that the club had received two bids for Suarez from Arsenal, but that both were rejected out of hand:
It [a sale] is not something we're interested in and, as our fans would expect, we rejected both. The player is not available for sale - that's where we are and that's where we'll stay.
I wish I had £1 for everyone that's stopped me in the street saying 'make sure Luis stays'. That's what we're doing.
Suarez 'May Consider Legal Action'
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Liverpool's stance hasn't prevented many reports from claiming that Suarez's future lies elsewhere, with the BBC suggesting that the forward is ready to both hand in a transfer request and consider legal action in a bid to get his move.
In a report by David Ornstein, who has close links to Arsenal, it is suggested that Suarez is ready to take on his club armed with the clause in his contract which, he feels, indicates that the Reds have to accept Arsenal's £40m +£1 bid.
The report also quotes Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who outlined the Gunners' determination to land their man if a deal can be done.
We want to [sign Suarez] if it is feasible in an amicable way.
We will respect what Liverpool want to do. I don't want to speak about Suarez, because that is between Liverpool and Arsenal.
Liverpool Fans Show What Side They're on
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Saturday's match against Olympiakos at Anfield was always going to be about Steven Gerrard, seeing as it was a testimonial for the long-serving captain, but there was also bound to be a Suarez sideshow.
The forward received a rousing welcome when he entered the field for the final half hour of the contest, with former Red Jamie Carragher seen having a quiet word with the Uruguayan as the duo entered the pitch.
Suarez ended the match playing up front with Liverpool icon Robbie Fowler as the Reds won 2-0 thanks to goals from Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson.
Rodgers Lays It on the Line... Again
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Following the win over Olympiakos, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers praised the Liverpool fans for the way they reacted to Suarez and shot down claims that the Uruguayan is worth only half of Gareth Bale's market value.
With Bale the subject of potential £100m interest from Real Madrid, Rodgers told LiverpoolFC.com:
I was on the phone to the owners last night and they know what we're trying to do here. We're trying to build the group up and we're in no hurry to sell Luis or any other player.
Throughout the world, every player has a value and worth. You look at the market and £40,000,001—when Gareth Bale they are talking about [a lot more than that].
Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez were arguably the two best players in the Premier League last year and you can't say Gareth Bale is valued at 100 per cent more!
We as a club are very strong in what we're doing and there won't be anyone moving out of here in a hurry.
Rodgers, who dismissed the legal action story, added that Suarez would have been "humbled" by the experience against the Greeks at Anfield, saying:
It just shows you the class of the Liverpool supporters. Maybe people wondered what kind of reception he would get but that's the type of supporters Liverpool are. They love their own, and Luis is still very much part of the group and the team.
They've given him everything, the supporters here.
He was probably humbled by the reception. There might have been that wee bit of trepidation about the reaction he might have got, but people who've been at this club a lot longer than me and know the Liverpool way, they know the fans always respect their people and respect their own.
Today was another message from them that they love him here. We all love him, as a manager, players and supporters. We're trying to keep our best players.
Unlikely Spurs Interest?
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In a classic case of putting two and two together, Tottenham's potential loss of Bale has suddenly seen them linked with a move for Suarez—adding their name to Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the list of clubs whose name has been spotted next to the Uruguayan's this summer.
The link was reported in the Sunday Times (subscription needed), and whilst it is not hard to imagine that Spurs would be keen on such a terrific player, the reasons why Suarez would go to White Hart Lane are not as easily apparent.
With Liverpool doing all they can to avoid selling Suarez to Arsenal, shipping him off to the other side of North London would be just as unthinkable too—while Spurs cannot offer him Champions League football.
Purslow: 'Reds Won't Sell to Arsenal'
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Former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow added his name to the growing list of characters to have their say on Suarez when he told the BBC that he couldn't see the Reds selling to Arsenal, or indeed Tottenham.
Purslow, who isn't especially popular with Liverpool fans for his role in the dismissal of Rafael Benitez as manager, the appointment of Roy Hodgson in his place and what was seen as too much of an influence around the club, said:
If the only offer is from Arsenal I would expect Luis Suarez to stay at Liverpool.
It's disappointing as a follower of Liverpool that the player has so publicly and so early in the close season made it pretty clear that he would like to move on.
I'm pretty realistic about these things and it's not that unusual for a player of that magnitude to want to play at Champions League level. That appears to be his motivation.
The next figure to come forward and give his thoughts was Damien Comolli, the former Liverpool director of football who helped sign Suarez.
Comolli also worked as a scout at Arsenal, and had some pretty frank words on where the Reds stand in relation to the Gunners at the moment.
It looks like a very messy situation.
When I was there, we knew it would be hard to keep players like [Pepe] Reina, [Daniel] Agger, Luis if we couldn't get into the Champions League.
Luis is extremely ambitious and with all due respect to Liverpool, they're a top-eight side, not top-four like Arsenal.
The Saga Turns Ugly
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Growing increasingly desperate for a way out, Suarez turned to the British media―who he had slammed earlier this summer―to give an interview designed on burning his bridges at Liverpool.
Having pulled out of Liverpool's friendly against Valerenga in Norway, Suarez said:
Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club [believed to be Juventus] and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I'd be allowed to go.
I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish – now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement.
He wasn't finished there, as the forward laid his desire for Champions League football on the line, saying:
I'm 26. I need to be playing in the Champions League. I waited one year and no one can say that I did not give everything possible with my team-mates last season to get us there.
It is not as if I am asking to move to a local rival. And I would not consider moving to a club outside the Champions League. I have made my desire to move known in private various times and now it feels like the time for me to make it public.
Suarez even called the morals of Liverpool and Rodgers into question, saying:
I spoke with Brendan Rodgers several times and he told me: 'Stay another season, and you have my word if we don't make it then I will personally make sure that you can leave.'
Liverpool is a club with a reputation for doing things the right way. I just want them to abide by the promises made last season.
The forward's words on Merseyside were about to land in Norway with a thud.
Rodgers Hits Back
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Instead of focussing on his team's 4-1 win over Valerenga in Oslo, Rodgers was instead faced with the Suarez question.
The Northern Irishman didn't pull any punches either, saying to LiverpoolFC.com:
My conversations with players will always remain private. I'll never disclose any conversation between a player and I.
In terms of the remarks that were made, this is a football club that has always worked a certain way. The Liverpool Way is all about a club with ambition, a club that strives to be the very best, a club that is about commitment - that means that everyone is committed to the cause of fighting for the shirt.
It's also about dignity and being dignified in how you speak about the club, on and off the field, and it's about unity.
Those are the four values that run through my mind when I think about Liverpool. Those are the values we will always retain. If anyone steps outside of that standard, I will deal with it. That's something that we'll do.
It means that we have a standard at Liverpool that I will fight for my life to retain. There will never be any player or person bigger than the club.
The manager, clearly angered by Suarez's interview, continued:
Professionally, Luis Suarez has given me everything since I came into the football club, but there is obviously a way in which you have to speak. This is a club that has offered Luis Suarez the utmost respect since the day he walked through the door.
That's something that over the course of the coming weeks you need to have when you work for Liverpool Football Club. You've got supporters and players that have given Luis Suarez absolutely everything - they backed him to the hilt.
Even at the weekend, when we had Steven Gerrard's testimonial game, the supporters raised the roof for him. That's something that I will always fight to retain at the football club, because that is what Liverpool is about - respect, humility and real dignity.
Elsewhere, Rodgers was quoted by the Guardian as saying:
There were no promises made – categorically none – and no promises broken. The club and his representatives had several conversations and he knew exactly where he was at.
I think Luis knows the support he's had at the football club and that's something that's been unswerving throughout the whole of last season. Obviously the remarks I've read are bitterly disappointing but my job is bigger than that. My job is to fight and protect the club.
I will take strong, decisive action, absolutely. There has been total disrespect of the club – this is a lack of respect of a club that has given him everything, absolutely everything. I don't believe there is a clause in his contract that says he can leave for any sort of price.
A Rebel Without a Clause
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Central to all of this is of course the mystical clause which Suarez and his camp believe exists in his contract, but the Daily Mail believe that they've got to the bottom of it, and it doesn't make good reading for the Uruguayan.
They report that, at a meeting between the two warring camps and the Professional Footballers' Association on Monday, it was discovered that Liverpool's version of the contract was correct, hence Suarez running off to the press to give his interviews.
The Mail even quote a legal source who claim that the Suarez camp:
‘dropped the ball when it came to the phrasing of that sentence in the contract. It is so heavily caveated it amounts to nothing. Legally it is worthless.’
Your move, Luis.
From Never Walking Alone, to Always Training Alone
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The saga now appears to be reaching its' endgame, with Rodgers forcing Suarez to train alone, away from the rest of the squad (BBC).
The forward is of course banned from the opening six matches of the season anyway, so it makes sense for the Reds to start preparing for the new campaign without him.
How long is that going to be though?
John Henry: "Suarez Is Going Nowhere"
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Liverpool's strongest words in the saga were saved for their principal owner John Henry, who used a visit to Liverpool to underline the strong Reds stance on their star man.
Henry was unequivocal in his belief that Suarez is not for sale, attempting to draw a line under the whole issue.
Quoted in the Guardian, he said:
We are not going to sell Luis. For all the top clubs it's extremely important [not to sell to a rival] but especially for Liverpool because we're not in Europe this year and have not been in the Champions League for a while. To sell to a rival for those positions, or one of them, would be ludicrous. Liverpool needs to be playing in Europe. It needs to be playing in the Champions League. That's what Liverpool Football Club is about.
I'm unequivocal that we won't sell to Arsenal, whatever the bid is. I have not said it to Stan [Kroenke, Arsenal's majority shareholder] but I had a personal conversation with others at Arsenal and told him [Ivan Gazidis] we would not sell to Arsenal.
Henry then reiterated that Suarez won't be allowed to leave for a foreign club, saying:
He won't be sold even if a foreign club comes in because we do not have time to sign a suitable replacement. It's a football reason. It's not about finances. That's why at this point, so late in the window, with everyone who's already moved or isn't moving, we can't replace him. So for football reasons we can't sell, and especially to Arsenal.
The end of saga? Let's see...
It's "Impossible for Suarez to Leave"
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With the saga turning toxic, the queue for people to have their say is getting longer.
Suarez has reportedly been keen for the Professional Footballers' Association to step in and aid his cause, but the union's chief Gordon Taylor admitted that the Uruguayan is likely to be left disappointed.
He told the BBC:
With the transfer window expiring, the difficulties of not only selling him to a competitor but also replacing him makes it practically impossible.
Taylor also voiced his opposition to so-called buy-out clauses, indicating that they can be difficult to manage.
I think it really muddies the waters to have buy-out clauses that are supposed to be confidential between employer and employee.
Inevitably that gets out. The drafting of such clauses are far from straightforward.
These are issues we are going to have to raise with the Premier League at our regular discussions.
Rodgers: "He Needs to Apologise"
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Now steadfast in their belief that Suarez will not leave, Liverpool's thoughts are turning to what happens next.
With the forward still suspended for the first six matches of the new season, just how does he fit in when he comes back?
Manager Brendan Rodgers indicated that it will all need to start with an apology.
As reported by the BBC, the Northern Irishman said:
Initially there will be a recognition that [there needs to be] an apology to his team-mates and the club.
I have seen him over a period of time. I know it is not the Luis Suarez we know and I have to protect the fans and the players because they deserve more than that.
He has spent some days working on his own. The group has been separate to that and working very hard.
When he is back from his international trip [to Japan with Uruguay] we will assess it from there.
Suarez: "Oh No I Don't"
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The belief that Liverpool's hardline stance on Suarez would see the forward back down with his demands didn't last very long.
Although still not ready to hand in an official transfer request, a strange approach, Suarez reportedly has no intention of apologising to his club for his behaviour.
The forward, as indicated in the Daily Mail, still believes that the Reds owe him a transfer away following Arsenal's £40m + £1 bid, and he isn't put off from continuing his demands despite the club telling him he's not for sale.
He seems determined to drag the saga on for as long as possible, but will he succeed?