Liverpool have informed Barcelona they do not want Alexis Sanchez in a potential deal for Luis Suarez, according to Spanish press.
Instead, the Catalan giants are said to have offered £72 million straight cash for the striker, whose Reds careers looks to be coming to a sudden end.
Mundo Deportivo, which is published in Barcelona, indicates Sanchez isn't wanted by the Merseyside club, as translated by 101 Great Goals:
There has been one major development in the deal, as MD confidently claim that Liverpool have shot down the notion of taking cash and a player in exchange for Suarez. Put another way, Liverpool only want to do a money deal with the Catalans, which seems to be the death knell in all the paper talk linking Alexis Sanchez with the Reds.
The Spanish publication's front page is doused with Suarez's image, noted by BarcaDN:
غلاف صحيفة mundo deportivo : الهجوم النهائي pic.twitter.com/Ik35S7je8l— أخبار برشلونة (@BarcaDN) July 3, 2014
Interestingly, the wording above indicates Liverpool have put a halt to Sanchez's inclusion. Brendan Rodgers allegedly prefers the money and may be looking elsewhere when trying to replace his outgoing Uruguayan striker.
Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reports a £72 million cash bid, an offer which comes up short against Liverpool's £80 million valuation, perhaps due to Suarez's unsavoury behaviour during the recent World Cup match with Italy. Having bitten a third opponent of his professional career, it's fair to say Suarez is perhaps a few pounds cheaper than before the tournament's match with Italy.
Should Liverpool try to include Alexis Sanchez in a deal to let Luis Suarez leave?
Sanchez, who is valued at upward of £30 million, could ease Barcelona's need to spend if included in the deal. He is an excellent replacement for Suarez and offers a similar type of directness on the ball, although his finishing isn't as lethal.
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre and Barca director Raul Sanllehi have already met to thrash out an agreement in London, noted by Jones. Interestingly, widespread reports of negotiations say an awful lot from Liverpool's point of view, especially as the club haven't publicly backed Suarez after he bit Giorgio Chiellini.
The English side have stood by their man through difficult times, but it appears this incident was one too far.
Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta praised Suarez for his recent apology during the unveiling of Ivan Rakitic, calling the player "humble," per The Telegraph. Such comments appear to be an attempt to make the player feel loved, a significant development, considering Liverpool's measured lack of public support.
Sanchez's future remains finely poised, but the player is said to prefer a move to Arsenal over Anfield, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail. Guillem Balague of Sky Sports explains a situation that threatens to become extremely complicated:
Message from the FCB camp is that negotiations for Suárez are advanced and going well. Alexis has other offers on the table he's considering— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 2, 2014
I heard Arsenal have a personal agreement with Alexis but offer less to FCB than Liverpool. Juve also interested.— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 2, 2014
Suarez: When a side says its advanced it means agreement in place. LFC might want 2 keep it quiet 2 close other deals but seems pretty close— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 2, 2014
As it stands Alexis not part of the deal for Suárez. But not definitive. Despite personal agreemnt with Arsenal, LFC hope to convince him— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 2, 2014
Barcelona's ability to tie up a deal would see the team line up with Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar next season, a front trio that could rip through any defence in the world. Sanchez would certainly be surplus to requirements if this happens, and if Liverpool want a top-quality alternative to Suarez, now is the time to ramp up their interest.
Otherwise, Sanchez's move elsewhere—perhaps to Arsenal—may turn out to be a major oversight by the Merseyside hierarchy. He is a special player, the quality of which doesn't come up for grabs on the transfer market too often, and Liverpool have the power in negotiations to exploit his availability.
Although Rodgers and the Reds board may prefer the cash, Liverpool fans may be banking on the arrival of a player who can make everyone forget about their troubled Uruguayan forward.