It seems like every summer there is a Premier League star being courted by Real Madrid, and this year is set to be no different, with Luis Suarez in the sights of the Champions League finalists. However, Liverpool must hold firm where others have failed to if they want to remain a force at the top of the table.
As per Chris Richards in The Mirror, the Reds have “have braced themselves for a £70million Real Madrid raid for star striker Luis Suarez.” They know it is coming and must do everything in their power to make sure it fails.
The Uruguayan has scored 53 goals in his last 64 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, as per ESPN FC. This is a strike rate scarcely seen in the top division of English football and one that could not be replaced, no matter how enormous the transfer fee received.
There have been four major signings by Real Madrid from Premier League clubs in the last five years, and the English teams have always struggled to recover from the loss of their star player to Los Merengues.
Most recently was Gareth Bale’s departure from Tottenham last summer. The Welshman was a similarly inspirational figure for Spurs as Suarez is for Liverpool. Both have the ability to win games for their sides from nowhere.
Following Bale’s exit from White Hart Lane, Spurs went down the route of splashing his whopping £78 million transfer fee, according to FIFA.com, on a host of new players to completely redesign the first team.
It did not work.
Their manager, Andre Villas-Boas, was sacked in December, the club’s Champions League hopes were dashed for another year, and they look set for more managerial change in the summer.
The same clubs were involved when Luka Modric moved to the Spanish capital in 2012. A weighty transfer fee of £33 million was received by Spurs for the Croatian, but the team could not improve after his loss and stagnated the following year, even with the brilliance of Bale.
The biggest swoop from Real came in 2009, when they prized Cristiano Ronaldo away from Manchester United for a world-record £80 million. Since then, the Red Devils have lifted two Premier League titles and the League Cup. No failure to be sure, but for a club of their stature, this is not a significant haul for five years' work.
The same season Ronaldo left Old Trafford, Xabi Alonso swapped Anfield for the Bernabeu. This may be the least glamorous of the transfers mentioned, but it should be the one that sets alarm bells ringing in Merseyside the loudest. The departure of Alonso was not the only factor, but it was a key part of Liverpool’s fall from being a nailed-on Champions League side to one scratching around in upper midtable.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has built a strong ethos at Anfield, and the team would not crumble with the loss of Suarez, but they could certainly not progress. Their own past, along with that of other sides, has proved that improvement is impossible when Madrid come calling for their prized assets.
It is not rocket science, but a team that sells its best player is a worse team for it. If Liverpool have serious, long-term, title-challenging ambitions, then they must avoid doing so at all costs.