A roller-coaster summer for Luis Suarez has undertaken new developments after reports in Spain surfaced claiming the striker's lawyer has flown to Barcelona.
Should Liverpool sell Luis Suarez this summer?
The Mirror's David Maddock supports claims Suarez's Liverpool career may be coming to an end after FIFA issued the Uruguay forward a four-month ban from football after the third biting incident of his career while away at the World Cup.
Liverpool released a short statement on Suarez's latest actions via their official website, saying that time will be taken to review the matter in full, but Maddock insists the club's valuation and requirements in order to sell have not changed:
Liverpool’s position has always been that they don’t want to sell; that the player has a long contract that has been renewed twice under managing director Ian Ayre, and that, if any sale was inevitable, then it would still be on terms that could only benefit them.
Suarez's value, prior to the high-profile biting incident, was in the region of £80 million according to the Mirror's John Cross.
However, the suspension affects both club and international football, meaning the Reds would be without their talisman's services for the beginning of their 2014-15 campaign, as would any club who sign him this summer.
Nevertheless, Spanish outlet AS (h/t 101 Great Goals) says the ban has not deterred Barca boss Luis Enrique in his pursuit of Suarez, with the report stating:
According to AS, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is ‘adamant’ that he still wants to sign Suarez, and the Catalans’ belief is that if they have to wait until October before they can play the Uruguayan then so be it.
Rendering the ban as ‘no problem’, AS further gush praise on Suarez by claiming he can be the new Hristo Stoichkov in Spain. Stoichkov, the Bulgarian hero, famously kicked referee Urizar Azpitarte in the 1990 Supercopa de España against Real Madrid, only to go from being vilified by the press to being loved by the Barca fans.
Uruguay face Colombia in the World Cup round of 16 after beating Italy 1-0 in their final group game, but will have to do so without Suarez's input.
Contrary to reports, however, the Uruguayan FA will not be boycotting their fixture in supposed outcry at the decision regarding Suarez, according to the Press Association's Martyn Ziegler:
Uruguay will NOT boycott World Cup match v Colombia, UFA president Wilmar Valdez tells PA's @hirstclass— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) June 26, 2014
The Liverpool star is arguably the most archetypal example of a poisoned chalice in modern football. Having won the PFA and Premier League Player of the Year awards, there's no denying Suarez sits as one of the most talented finishers in the world.
However, that talent most definitely comes with a known risk for drama, a risk that Barcelona and other suitors may yet be willing to put up with if it means boasting the player's services as their own.
Figures of this sort apparently stick together, too, after The Times' Tony Barrett reported another controversial star of the past, Diego Maradona, has given his support to Uruguay's "crucified" icon:
According to the excellent @MartinCharquero Diego Maradona has claimed that Suarez has been "crucified" by FIFA.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) June 27, 2014
The summer transfer window officially opens on July 1, and Anfield once again looks poised to welcome a new weight of speculation and interest regarding the player who effectively led them into 2013-14 Premier League title contention.
Brendan Rodgers' side have shown in past windows they are capable of withstanding such intrigue, but Suarez's actions at the World Cup may prove to be the final push needed for Liverpool to finally give in.