No one really expects footballers to see out their contracts anymore. However, with the recent Daily Mail report that Luis Suarez is trying to force a move from Liverpool to Arsenal via the threat of legal action, it's time to start worrying about the future of the league.
Liverpool have dismissed the rumour of a buyout clause in Suarez's contract, with the same Mail article reporting that the club maintains they only have to inform the Uruguayan of any offer made. Regardless of this, threatening legal proceedings against a club that has shown nothing but support is a sad indictment of the game.
Even in transfer limbo, Suarez is a controversial figure. This will only continue if he is allowed to move to Arsenal.
He is a wonderful player, there's no doubt about it, but is he really worth the effort for the Gunners?
Racial abuse, biting players' arms, failing to acknowledge fans, antagonising opposition managers—these are things that Liverpool have put up with, in some cases while strongly reaffirming their unconditional support for Suarez.
Caving to Suarez's demands sets a dangerous precedent. Forcing the move will only convince the top players they can move anywhere they like, regardless of the contract language. Let's not forget that Suarez signed a long-term deal at Liverpool just a year ago.
Controversy isn't always a bad thing, but don't expect Suarez to show any sort of loyalty to Arsenal after making the move. If after one season he feels it wasn't what he expected, he'll be off.
He's also not going to curb his behaviour on the pitch—what we've seen from him is simply who he is as a player. He'll take the bans and the fines—but they don't act as a deterrent.
Arsene Wenger takes a lot of heat for failing to bring in marquee names, so it's understandable that he is keen to bring in a player of Suarez's quality. If he succeeds and the Gunners win back-to-back titles spearheaded by Suarez's goals and creative flair, that's a fair return—even if Suarez then packs his bags and moves on again.
However, it's unlikely that Arsenal will win the league this year, even with the Premier League's most divisive player. Despite Wenger's assertions to the contrary, they failed to win the Emirates Cup and are still too inconsistent to make a real run at the title.
Suarez wants to play Champions League football, as does everyone else in the league. Arsenal are likely to give him a better chance of that than Liverpool right now, which makes his intentions understandable.
However, he won't find life any easier in London than he did on Merseyside. For someone making repeated complaints of press intrusion, forcing a move to the nation's capital is a strange choice—and one that could backfire for the player, both clubs and the league as whole.