Luis Suarez's Transfer to Barcelona Would Be Best Move for Him and Liverpool

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2014

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Will selling one of the best players in the world make Liverpool better on the pitch? No, but at this point, they don't have any other choice but to move Luis Suarez this summer.

The seeds of his departure from Anfield were sewn last year when he agitated for a move to Arsenal. Although that move never came to fruition, Suarez chose not to dwell on it and instead helped Liverpool finish second in the Premier League.

Circumstances are a bit different now. The Reds aren't in a position where they can afford to play hardball.

There's the little matter of the ban handed down by FIFA. Four months with no football is a massive punishment and one that would mean Liverpool are without Suarez for the start of a second consecutive season.

Former Reds star Dietmar Hamann argued on Bleacher Report that the threat of another incident and even more harsh suspension should be enough to convince Liverpool to sell their best player:

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.

A plausible argument could be made that what Suarez has done to Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic and Giorgio Chiellini is no worse than somebody going studs up with the intent to injure. Suarez didn't tear any knee ligaments and grievously injure opposing players.

But the fact of the matter is, FIFA frowns upon biting much more so than it does bad tackles. The infraction is much more of a societal taboo and is treated as such by football's governing body.

Suarez doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore. You have to expect that he'll royally screw up again, and as Hamann wrote, it will cost Liverpool dearly.

The Reds have, quite frankly, been given a lifeline. The Guardian's Andy Hunter reported that Barcelona offered around £70 million for the Uruguayan forward:

Barcelona’s determination to clinch a deal for the Uruguayan was confirmed during talks between their director of football management, Raul Sanllehi, and Liverpool’s chief executive, Ian Ayre, in London on Wednesday. Rather than seek a drastically reduced fee for a player banned for four months for biting the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, Sanllehi’s opening bid was in the region of £70m.

The fee falls short of Liverpool’s initial £80m valuation, and has not been accepted, but both sides appear convinced a deal can be done after their face-to-face negotiations over the 27-year-old. Barcelona are believed to be willing to pay a straight cash sum for Suárez or to include Alexis Sánchez as a makeweight, as Liverpool had requested.

That's about as good of a deal as Liverpool could hope to get given the situation and leaves the club with more than enough money to find an adequate replacement(s).

The Reds have already spent more than £40 million this summer on Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can. Clearly Fenway Sports Group isn't afraid to open up the checkbook and they would be willing to invest whatever money received from a Suarez transfer back into the club.

Some might wonder, though, if Liverpool would suffer a similar drop-off that Tottenham had last season after they sold Gareth Bale.

Clint Hughes/Associated Press

If anything, the way Spurs reinvested the money from Bale's transfer should serve as a blueprint for the Reds in what not to do. Tottenham bought talented players, but they gave little thought as to how those new signings would gel with the squad and each other.

Rodgers has been much more careful regarding how he spends and whether a player fits into his general tactical plan on the pitch.

A better example for Liverpool might be when Manchester United sold Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger was one of the best players in the world and irreplaceable for the Red Devils.

Then he left for Real Madrid.

Some might argue that United have still failed to buy somebody to fill Ronaldo's boots, yet that hasn't stopped them from winning two league titles and nearly taking a third.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Roberto Soldado of Tottenham Hotspur hugs Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Anji Makhachkala at White Hart Lane on
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Manchester United remained one of the best teams in England because they had a great manager and a squad in place to compensate for Ronaldo's departure.

While Rodgers is not yet at the level of Sir Alex Ferguson, he does appear to be of a high quality. On the pitch, the Reds have a cadre of young players who've been together for a while and built a rapport with one another.

The impact of Suarez's departure might not have as great of an effect as some would think. The biggest thing will be ensuring that this doesn't lead to some sort of mass exodus like you've seen at Arsenal over the years. Losing one key player turns into two, which turns into three, etc.

When you look at it from the player's perspective, this move is a no-brainer. As much history as Liverpool have and despite the fact that they have Champions League football, Barcelona is a step up.

They're one of the biggest clubs in the world and almost guaranteed to finish in the top two of La Liga and advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League every season.

That's security Liverpool can't provide.

Barcelona also look fully willing to put up with Suarez's indiscretions, much as Liverpool have in the past. Club president Josep Bartomeu has already gone on record commending him for his apology issued to Chiellini after the biting incident, per ESPN FC:

PORTO, PORTUGAL - APRIL 15:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Porto and Manchester United at the Estadio do Dragao on April 15, 2009 in Porto, Portugal.  (Photo by L
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Almost everybody around Suarez serves as an enabler, whether it's the Uruguay and Liverpool supporters, his national team coach and teammates or those in charge at Liverpool.

Bartomeu's comments send the impression that the Camp Nou will have no problem welcoming Suarez with open arms and covering for him when he messes up.

Liverpool have been put between a rock and a hard place, but Suarez's bite likely hastened the inevitable. Sooner or later, he was gonna leave Anfield, especially with a club as large as Barcelona as a potential destination.

The only thing the Reds can do now is make the most of a tough situation.


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