Let that statement sink in for just a moment or two.
According to Marca, h/t Jack Wilson of the Daily Star, the Uruguayan wants to play under new Barca boss Luis Enrique.
The Daily Telegraph quote Sport and Mundo Deportivo in reporting that Suarez has spoken with close friends whilst at the World Cup and told them that he will sign for the Catalans in the summer.
There are further suggestions that Alexis Sanchez will be a makeweight in the deal, which would eventually amount to a total of €85 million.
For a player of Suarez’s obvious talent to become available is rare. To have him then effectively issue a “come and get me” plea is a timely ringing endorsement if ever there was one.
Yet his actions against Italy, for which he has been rightly punished, has led many fans to espouse quite vehemently that he is not the type of player who Barcelona should consider signing.
Ex-England captain Alan Shearer also waded into the argument:
After all, aren’t the Catalans “mes que un club” or “more than a club” if you prefer? A club who uphold a certain set of core values which sets them apart from their contemporaries?
Well they were.
Ever since the Neymar scandal broke, followed by the (now suspended) transfer ban because of child-labour issues, Barca’s image has been tarnished, some would say beyond repair.
Luis Suarez has certainly done his own image no favours after images of him sinking his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder were beamed worldwide.
But to suggest he is not the type of player the Blaugrana need in their ranks is a little short-sighted.
Hristo Stoichkov wasn’t a shrinking violet in his day and there are many parallels that can be drawn with Suarez.
FIFA.com note Stoichkov as:
A gifted bad boy […]
Both a genius and a polemic figure on the pitch.
Loved by some but denounced by others, the former striker regularly divided opinion.
A description that perfectly encompasses all that Luis Suarez is about.
Let’s not forget that Stoichkov’s Barcelona career began with a two-month ban for deliberately stamping on a referee, but the Bulgarian became an integral part of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team and European Cup winning squad in 1992.
Players of such ilk may be flawed genii, but they remain match winners despite living their professional lives on the very edge.
No need to ask Sir Alex Ferguson whether he ever contemplated selling Eric Cantona after his infamous kung-fu kick on a supporter. You all know the answer.
Suarez will always have his detractors, more so given his latest misdemeanor, but he is precisely the sort of player that Barca need, especially in this time of transition.
And it would seem the powers that be at Barca agree.
Guillem Balague spoke to Sky Sports News, reported via the Sky Sports website:
I was in touch with both Barcelona and Real Madrid […]
In the case of Barcelona, they think they are favourites for his signature. They think that this (uproar over the bite) may make things much faster. But we will see – that is just speculation. What is for certain is that they would still like to sign the player.
It is not ideal obviously but it is quite clear it has become a sporting and footballing decision as a priority in both cases. Conversations with Real Madrid have been taking place for quite a while and they thought they had an advantage over Barcelona. But it all changed over the last couple of months when the player let his representatives know that it was Barcelona that he wanted to go to.
Barcelona are still the favourites to get him as half of his family – his parents in law live near Barcelona – and he goes there very often. His first daughter was born in Barcelona and his wife spends a lot of time in Barcelona.
From a purely sporting perspective, his acquisition is a no brainer.
He scores goals. Lots of goals.
Per EuroTopFoot, his 31 goals saw him finish level with Cristiano Ronaldo and three ahead of Lionel Messi, despite missing the first six matches of last season, ironically for the bite on Branislav Ivanovic during the Liverpool vs. Chelsea game from the season before.
Comfortable anywhere across the front line, Suarez’s skill set is perfectly complimentary to that of Messi and Neymar.
So he won't be able to showcase his talent at Camp Nou until October. With no settling-in period expected, the Catalans would be negligent to allow the opportunity for an early Christmas present to pass them by.
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