Just when it appeared the Luis Suarez transfer saga had reached an end, fresh reports, such as this one from the Daily Mail, of an approach from Real Madrid on Friday threaten to bring yet more theatre to Merseyside, but the Uruguayan should resist the temptation to start planning life in Spain.
Arsene Wenger seemed to have closed the window on the summer-long Suarez gossip when he declared this week Arsenal have “no chance” of doing a deal, but the Gunners may still indirectly affect the Liverpool man's future if their pursuit of Karim Benzema leads Madrid to Suarez.
David Maddock of the Daily Mirror summarises the domino effect that could be set in motion:
Liverpool are bracing themselves for Real Madrid to make a raid for Luis Suarez. Arsenal want Real forward Karim Benzema, and the £40 million the Spanish giants would expect to receive for him will be used to fund a move for Suarez - a player they have long coveted.
However, Madrid’s interest has come far too late. Liverpool made it clear two weeks ago that they did not have sufficient time to replace Suarez, and that situation has only worsened 10 days out from the transfer deadline.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed as much on Thursday, as reported by Sky Sports, insisting Liverpool’s owners are right behind him in keeping Suarez at the club—against the player’s will.
We are trying to get one or two more quality players in through the door. If we lose Luis at this stage, it would be difficult to replace him.
There might have been a point a few months ago when there was time to do it, but not with only 11 days to go.
Who has the stronger squad?
Compounding the issue for Suarez, who has made it clear his dream is to move to Madrid, is the fact Liverpool have now missed out on their three major transfer targets this summer.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa and Willian have all escaped the Reds, the latter of whom would have brought the type of attacking flair to Anfield that may have eased the exit of Suarez.
Rodgers confessed Willian was the ideal signing for Liverpool this summer, saying in the Daily Mail “this was a player who would have been perfect for us.”
A forward line of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Willian, supported by Iago Aspas and Raheem Sterling, would likely have satisfied Rodgers that Liverpool could cope without Suarez should Madrid hit the club’s £50 million valuation.
However, without Willian the Liverpool boss knows his front three would look light if Suarez departed, and there is little the Uruguayan can do to force through a move.
The only option he has is to threaten to refuse to play if Liverpool block his move to Madrid, but in a World Cup year that would be a serious risk for a player who finished as second-top scorer in the Premier League last season.