Luis Suarez has denied reports of a release clause in his contract that would allow Real Madrid or Barcelona to trigger a move away from Liverpool, amidst rumours Real are preparing a £56 million bid for the talented Uruguayan.
Suarez has long been linked with a move to either of the two La Liga giants, but via The Daily Mail's Pete Jenson, the player himself clarified on Wednesday that rumours of a potential exit or release clause were false:
As far as I’m aware there is no clause that suggests a priority for any team.
My head now is focused on the World Cup. Everyone knows there will be media speculation this summer as there always is but I have a contract with Liverpool.
I just turn the page. You know what the speculation is like and you try not to take any notice. I know what I want and it is more speculation than reality.
Suarez made his comments as he was being presented in Barcelona as the new face of betting company 888poker, as you can see in this video:
The Daily Star's Jamie Anderson had earlier started the rumour mill when he reported that El Confidencial claimed the Champions League finalists were set to offer Liverpool £56 million for the services of their star striker:
Spanish sources claim that Suarez is at the very top of Real president Florentino Perez's wish list, with money not being an issue.
The newspaper El Confidencial claimed that £56m would be enough to release Suarez from his current Liverpool deal that doesn't expire until 2018.
The reported figure of £56 million appeared to be on the low side given the striker's incredible production during the 2013-14 Premier League season (31 goals, via WhoScored.com). In the context of Madrid's massive offers for stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the past, Real perhaps believe the reported clause to be real.
Madrid have drawn some fine form from striker Karim Benzema in 2013-14, and while a mercurial talent like Suarez would make any team in world football better, Liverpool's continued defiance against selling the player all but ensures Los Blancos would have to break yet another transfer record to obtain his services.
The Daily Mail's Rob Shepherd claims Madrid are favourites to make a move for Suarez, but rivals Barcelona could also challenge for his signature.
Suarez has given no indication of wanting to leave the Reds, so Real or Barcelona will not count on the Uruguayan forcing the club's hand. A £56 million offer seems almost laughable at this point, but the summer transfer window is only just starting.
If the past is any indication, however, Madrid tend to get whatever they want in the transfer market. This transfer saga is looking like it could dominate the upcoming window, and while all parties will most likely lay low during next month's World Cup, rumours will no doubt persist.