Whether you’re a pessimist, an optimist or a realist, the news from Andy Hunter in the Guardian that Liverpool have begun talks over extending Luis Suarez’s contract will have certainly made you think.
The timing of it doesn’t seem odd—coming in the middle of the Uruguayan forward’s most sizzling form of his career. What club wouldn’t want to have first dibs on one of the best players in the world?
It’s certainly one for the sceptics, too, though, with the news conjuring up several conspiracy theories.
Many moons ago, Liverpool were notorious for taking an age to approach clubs and players over transfer moves or contract extensions—often ending up in either a mass of crossed wires or missing out on Europe’s elite footballers to their rivals.
Liverpool were ushered into a transfer deadline day frenzy in 2011 to splash £35 million on Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll when Fernando Torres had handed in a transfer request just 24 hours earlier.
Now Liverpool have caught up with the 21st century. They have a sparkly website, a worldwide merchandise store (the ticket office could do with a bit of a nudge, but you can’t have everything!) and they want to be seen as if they’re pulling the strings from an early stage.
Two-and-a-half years early in this case—for that is how long is left on Suarez’s current deal.
Being seen actively to push Suarez and his agent for a new deal may well be the news to give the club a big confidence boost going into the final three games of 2013.
Clauses and Release Fees
Liverpool will also be keen to clarify where they stand should Suarez want to leave Anfield next summer, as he did earlier this year.
By tying up a new contract with everything in black and white, there would be no repeat of Suarez’s antics in the summer where he showed complete disrespect to the club and fans.
Setting that into stone is going to take good negotiating time. Many questions have to be answered and agreed by both parties.
How much is he worth? Can he be sold to another English club? Does he deserve to be the club’s highest-earning player? What if Liverpool qualify for the Champions League?
Perhaps Liverpool are looking to make sure they have firm compensation plans in place should Suarez wish to leave in the near future. No doubt even January’s transfer window will throw the whole episode up in the air again.
Or maybe Liverpool are simply using their rights of first refusal on their own striker—moving heaven and earth to tie him to a new long-term, inevitably lucrative deal and make him one of the club’s long-serving, greatest legends.