The January transfer window is still almost two weeks away, but as far as Liverpool fans are concerned, the best deal has already been done.
The club signed Luis Suarez to a new, long-term contract on Friday afternoon, according to LiverpoolFC.com. With that, the supporters can rest easy in the knowledge that their star forward is committed to staying for the foreseeable future.
A far cry from the more recent windows of expectation, anxiousness and rumour-mongering, Suarez will now simply be focused on the task in hand: keeping Liverpool in the top four of the Premier League by the end of the season.
Both for the rest of this campaign and for those ahead, Suarez's signing is a serious statement of intent on behalf of the club, and that can have real ramifications on many levels.
Impact on: Finances
BBC Sport report that the new contract means Suarez will get a raise to £160,000 per week for the rest of the present campaign and £200,000 per week for the next four years. That would represent a significant outlay for the club, making Suarez their highest-paid player ever, though some estimate it could go even higher—such as the Daily Mirror's David Anderson.
I'm hearing that Suarez's new deal could be worth around £225,000-a-week. John W Henry wants to give him parity with Wayne Rooney.— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) December 20, 2013
Can Liverpool, a club who have had to become more financially prudent after years of mismanagement by the former regime, account for such a wage?
Undoubtedly, the answer is yes—it's sustainable, especially for a player of Suarez's calibre. As recent as 16 months ago, Liverpool were paying out in the region of £200,000 per week for the combined efforts of Joe Cole, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam.
It's fair to say Suarez provides rather more to the first team than those three—who are all now off the payroll—managed between them.
The rise to £200,000 per week equates to around £5 million extra per year for the Uruguayan, which will be paid back in spades if—as is the primary, singular objective for the club right now—they return to playing Champions League football.
In the cold light of day, it also extends Suarez's shelf life as a high-value commodity of the club. This summer would have been the last where Liverpool could command a huge fee for him if he had not signed a new deal; now, release clause or no, he will be regarded as an asset worth anywhere from £60-100 million for years to come.
Impact on: Playing Squad
There cannot be a player at Liverpool who did not want Suarez to stay. From the forwards vying for a spot alongside him to the defenders hoping he fires the goals to aid victory, the entire squad likely agrees he's the top talent.
It will be a huge boost for them, then, to see Suarez opting to remain and fight with them rather than jump ship as he looked set to do last summer. And given the club's current league position, they should all be thinking that relative success is now very much attainable this season.
Elsewhere, there could easily be a knock-on effect: Come the January transfer window, it will be much more appealing for potential targets to be asked, "Would you like to come and play with Suarez?" rather than, "Could you come and replace Suarez?"
When the best player leaves, others tend to follow sooner or later.
But when the best stays and renews, that's a sign to the entire squad that things are headed in the right direction.
Impact on: Status with Fans
After Liverpool fans heard Suarez wanted to leave in the summer in his constant interviews while away on international duty, there were plenty who would rather not have had to deal with him anymore—especially given he was in the midst of a long suspension for biting an opponent.
Fast-forward 11 games and 17 goals, and there is simply nobody on the planet for Liverpool to purchase who would have had the same effect.
The Kop is once more bouncing to the tune of "Just Can't Get Enough," Suarez's song, while every goal is celebrated with the beaming smile of the No. 7 turned toward the fans. It sounds as though we could be talking about a forward from the '80s, but we're not.
Supporters were surprised to see Suarez named captain in the recent game vs. Spurs. A 5-0 win, with Suarez central to everything that was great about Liverpool, soon put to bed any fears that he might not have enough to lead both the team and fans.
If Daniel Agger continues to be sidelined or else moves on, it appears Liverpool already have their next vice-captain lined up.
Impact on: Liverpool's Season
And so to the crunch point: 2013-14.
It's simply vital that Liverpool qualify for the Champions League this season, given the massive upheaval elsewhere. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and now even Tottenham—five of the top six from last season have changed their managers in the past few months.
Arsenal and Liverpool, the two who haven't, make up positions No. 1 and No. 2 in the Premier League as we near the halfway stage of the season.
It's very likely not a coincidence.
Stability has proven important, but so has gradual, visible progression and improvement, much of which is evident in Suarez as much as in the team as a whole.
Liverpool have given themselves a great platform to get back into Europe's biggest competition for next year, with Suarez as their front-runner in doing that work. One more half-season with a similar work ethic, consistency and splendid in-game management, and the prize could be theirs.
Suarez staying can have nothing but good effects on the near future for Liverpool. They now have to make the most of it, this season, as an entire team.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!