Luis Suarez Transfer to Barcelona Will See Liverpool Aid Arsenal Bid for Sanchez

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 16: Alexis Sanchez of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at Camp Nou on March 16, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
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Last season, the Arsenal fans starting singing a new song which mercilessly taunted rivals Tottenham. It went, "How does it feel to be Tottenham? How does it feel to be small? You sold [Gareth] Bale, we signed Mesut Ozil."

With a few lyrical tweaks, the same ditty could be aimed at Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool next season.

The Bale situation was particularly painful for Spurs supporters. Not only did they lose their talisman and star player, but in doing so, they effectively forced Ozil out of Real Madrid and into Arsenal's grateful grasp. As the Bale deal approached its final stages and Arsenal's interest in Ozil became apparent, there were even rumours from the Daily Mail's Dave Wood that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was desperately trying to convince Real Madrid not to allow Arsenal to claim the German playmaker.

His efforts proved fruitless. Spurs replaced Bale with a collection of substandard signings and endured a difficult season whereas Arsenal added Ozil and went on to claim a Champions League place and the FA Cup.

It was a summer of transfer activity that prompted a big shift in momentum between the two North London clubs. Until that point, Tottenham looked like a team with exciting prospects whereas Arsenal were on the decline. However, those two transfer deals became indicative of their respective trajectories. How does it feel to be Tottenham? Not great these days.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Cut price Gareth Bale merchandise is offered by vendors prior to kick off during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on August 25, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo b
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One might expect Liverpool to have learnt from Spurs' mistakes. In 2013/14, they enjoyed a tremendous season, finishing above Arsenal and impressing neutrals with their effervescent attacking style.

However, the heart is about to be ripped out of that team. Footballer of the Year Luis Suarez is on the verge of being prised away from the Anfield club's clasp, according to's Wayne Veysey. Once again, the lure of La Liga has proved too strong.

This time, it's Barcelona who are the buying club. They've identified Suarez as the man key to their summer rebuilding. As a result, they need to create both funds and room in the squad. The man paying the price is Chilean Alexis Sanchez, and the club reaping the benefit is, once again, Arsenal.

In Liverpool's defence, they did at least try to secure Sanchez for themselves. According to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo (h/t The Mirror's Alex Richards), Sanchez's potential availability was a key part of the negotiations over Suarez. Invariably, however, the player determines his eventual destination, and it seems Sanchez had his heart set on North London all along.

It'll be particularly galling for the Liverpool hierarchy to see Arsenal as indirect beneficiaries of the Suarez deal. The two clubs fell out last summer over the same player, as Arsenal tried to activate a release clause in the Uruguayan's contract.

Arsenal might not have gotten Suarez, but in Sanchez, they seem set to sign the next best thing. Sanchez shares Suarez's electric acceleration and immaculate close control. If he can find more composure in his finishing, he could be an inspired acquisition.

Liverpool, on the other hand, have spent the Suarez money on several attacking players in the hope that they will collectively cover for the loss of Suarez. They will hope to have more success with that policy than Spurs did in the summer of 2013. Replacing a star individual is never easy. Arsenal know that better than most, having lost the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie in recent years.

Those days appear to be gone. Last season, it seemed as if Liverpool might be capable of running away from Arsenal. However, this summer's transfer activity seems to have swung the balance in the Gunners' favour. Before the 2014/15 title race is even underway, Liverpool may unwittingly have allowed Arsene Wenger's team to steal a march.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.