Luis Suarez's decision to remain at Liverpool thrust the Reds toward their most prolific Premier League season ever, one that was nearly defined with an impressive title win.
While Brendan Rodgers' men fell just short, the Uruguayan's form saw him land the Golden Boot, PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers' Player of the Year awards, reported by David Kent of the Daily Mail. As the summer approaches, rumblings from Real Madrid suggest another battle to maintain his signature will ensue.
John Cross of the Mirror paints the situation:
Real Madrid will launch a full-scale attempt to sign Luis Suarez this summer - and are prepared to sell Karim Benzema to fund the move.
The Spanish giants have already sounded out Suarez’s representatives and will believe they may be able to get their man from the Reds for £70million.
Suarez, speaking at an 888Poker event in Barcelona on Wednesday, suggested such reports are "more speculation than reality," per the Daily Mail's Pete Jenson. He also insisted Madrid and Barcelona cannot take advantage of a buyout clause within his contract:
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.
Liverpool turned down a famous £40 million-plus-one bid from Arsenal last year. At the very least, Suarez's worth has doubled since, his 31 Premier League goals thrusting him alongside the best England's top flight has seen. He could easily command a world-record fee, with Rodgers previously suggesting he is "heading" toward the £100 million mark, per Derick Allsop of the Mirror.
The ambitious player, famed for his jinking runs and elusive nature on the ball, could soon be joined by Southampton's Adam Lallana. However, reports are beginning to suggest a £20 million move depends on the whereabouts of Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Gary Jones of the Daily Star believes that, if Pochettino is lured to Tottenham, Lallana "could be tempted to follow" the manager who has helped his game thrive. Although Lallana revealed he wants to play in the Champions League—an advantage Liverpool hold over Spurs next season—Pochettino's destiny could impact the deal, according to the Press Association and via ESPN FC.
Lallana's asking price may also provide a stumbling block. Goal.com suggests Liverpool have offered €25 million (around £20.5 million), while Southampton are looking for €35 million (roughly £28.6 million). Obviously, if this proves to be true, the Merseyside hierarchy will either need to significantly up their bid or turn elsewhere.
Speculation will continue heading into the World Cup. Both Suarez and Lallana, who are likely to face each other when Uruguay take on England during the summer competition, can up their value with virtuoso performances at the showpiece event.
The upcoming festivities mark Lallana's first major tournament, his opportunity to significantly impress onlookers from across the globe. While Suarez has achieved this feat over previous showings, he can increase his worth by helping the South Americans to a strong campaign.
Both players are set to remain in the headlines throughout the coming weeks, whether they perform well in Brazil or not.