Arsenal Transfer News: John Henry Speaks out on Gunners' Bid for Luis Suarez

Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 2, 2014

John Henry has admitted to playing hard ball with Arsenal in their pursuit of Luis Suarez.
John Henry has admitted to playing hard ball with Arsenal in their pursuit of Luis Suarez.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool owner John Henry has finally admitted that Premier League rivals Arsenal did meet star striker Luis Suarez's buyout clause during last summer.   

Much was made of the bid of £40 million plus £1 at the time, but Liverpool held firm and kept hold of the Uruguayan. It's a decision that has seen the red half of Merseyside reaping the rewards, with Suarez contributing an astonishing 24 goals and 10 assists in 23 games, per

Henry made his eye-opening comments on Saturday at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Per Dave Phillips, h/t 101 Great Goals, he said:

Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the English Premier League, which is arguably the top soccer league in the world. He had a buyout clause of £40m. Arsenal, one of our prime rivals – this year we’re tied for 2nd … we’re actually 2nd because of goal difference.

They offered £40m+£1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football. It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving.

We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to. Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling [Suarez].

Whilst the comments may cause surprise in some quarters, it will be music to the ears of manager Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool supporters.

To have any chance of success whatsoever, you don't sell your best playersespecially to a direct rival.

With what has transpired on the football pitch since the summer, Henry can be fully justified in his stance, and subsequent actions.

It was clear that Suarez wanted to leave Liverpool at the time, telling Pete Jenson of The Telegraph:

I want to move to play in the Champions League and there is a club offering me that opportunity. I have told the manager that I want to leave the club.

I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish. Now all I want is that Liverpool honour our agreement.

It was fairly obvious that the Gunners had inside information on the Uruguayan's buyout clause and even Arsene Wenger was forced to concede that the bid might have been construed as "provocative"—per Mike Walters of the Daily Mirror.

Fast forward six months and Suarez is now on the verge of realising his Champions League dream, perhaps even a Premier League title to cap a wonderful campaign. His success has been unmatched, as 8 Fact Football highlights on Twitter:

If he can continue his sparkling partnership with Daniel Sturridge42 goals between them is more than 15 Premier League sides this season—then such success is well within reach.

A trip to Old Trafford is next up for Liverpool, and on current form you wouldn't bet against them inflicting more misery upon their fiercest rivals.

The lack of Champions League participation this season may well have benefitted Brendan Rodgers' troops. Of the teams potentially in the shake up for a Premier League tilt, Liverpool are best placed with nothing to distract them from their assault on top spot.

And John Henry's part in it should be readily acknowledged.