If Barcelona want him, and are willing to pay to get him, then Liverpool should look to cash in now.
I think it is fairly clear Suarez has not covered himself in glory in recent weeks, either in biting Chiellini or with his attempted defence of it. If he had been honest afterwards, and acknowledged his misconduct, then I think FIFA might have been a bit more lenient with him, but I’m sure his lack of contrition played a part in their final decision to ban him from all football for four months.
I think the length of the ban is severe but fair—it is about right for what he did. Since then, however, everything has taken a turn for the surreal, with Suarez belatedly apologising to Chiellini for his conduct and then Barcelona’s Andoni Zubizarreta praising him for doing so.
It is just a bizarre situation—a director of football from a club that is not attached to the player congratulating him for apologising for his conduct. So you have to think that Barcelona have played a part in that, that in some way they’ve let Suarez know that publicly apologising is one of the things he has to do if they are going to push through with a transfer this summer.
Liverpool have not made a proper statement about the situation, or really had anything to say about it at all, and the only ones talking about it at the moment seem to be Barcelona. Clearly he is still a Liverpool player, but there has got to be a big question mark about whether he will be at Liverpool next year because all the signs are beginning to suggest that he will be off to Spain.
For Liverpool, I do not think that is the end of the world. If anything happens again involving Suarez, next time it could finish his career. If he is involved in a biting incident again they’ll probably have to go to a maximum ban—which is two years—and that will probably kill his career. So there’s always that danger, for whoever employs him.
Perhaps you can put something in his contract when you sign him, or if he were to stay, stipulating that he is responsible for repaying any lost money as a result of his misconduct. But if there’s nothing in the contract right now and you keep him, you could effectively lose a player, because if he bites again he could be banned for two years. If you have something in the contract then perhaps you can get back some money from him if anything like that happens, but that’s something for the lawyers to deal with.
That is always going to be a worry, though. Personally, I would have sold him last year, in the summer, after what happened with Branislav Ivanovic. Yes, he did well after that, winning Player of the Year awards from all corners, but at the end of the day, Liverpool have only won a League Cup in the three-and-a-half years that he has been at the club.
The team have not really won anything—it is not as if they have won the league the last two years and are thinking that losing him will stop the run of success. He can be replaced. Yes, he plays a big part now, but when Thierry Henry left Arsenal the season after he went they only scored two fewer goals. If one player goes, no matter how good he is, others will always step in. You can only create so many chances in a game, and if Suarez leaves, someone else will get those chances and score those goals.
One player is no bigger than the club, and I’ve got no real worries if he goes. Will it set Liverpool back? I don’t think so, because he misses the first 10 games of next season anyway.
By the end of this ban, he will have missed something like 30 games for Liverpool, and yet he’s hardly ever been injured or sent off. So if you look at things the other way, if he had not gotten himself banned for the start of last season, maybe Liverpool would have won the league last season after all?
I always think about the team rather than the player. Yes, he’s a terrific player, but all the shenanigans that come with him mean I would not be too unhappy to see him go.
Even if Luis Suarez does leave, Liverpool have already done some good business this summer—and his exit might allow them to do even more.
Emre Can is a clever player, whose best position is probably the spot Steven Gerrard plays now—so you would think he is a ready-made replacement whenever Stevie decides to pack it in, and until then he can develop and adjust with a bit less pressure on his shoulders.
Adam Lallana is a very talented player, a player England have not really had for a number of years. He has beautiful balance, vision, two good feet and can chip in with a goal—he’s a great addition. Ideally I would have seen him arrive for a little bit less money than £25 million, but that’s the market at the moment and you cannot really do anything about that.
The club have also been strongly linked with Belgium’s Divock Origi, who would be another excellent signing. I really like the look of him—he did not play that well against the United States on Tuesday, but when he came on as a substitute in Belgium’s earlier group games he had a big impact with his pace, movement and eye for goal.
I really like him. You know he’s a powerful boy, and at 19 years old he’s only going to get better with time and experience.
The way Liverpool plays, the technical football they play, I think Brendan Rodgers will improve him quicker than some other managers would do. He would be a great addition.