It would be an exaggeration to say Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona came as a bolt from the blue, but for a large part of the last 12 months, it had seemed that Real Madrid would be his next stop after Liverpool if the Uruguayan moved to Spain.
As recently as the World Cup group stages, John Cross of the Daily Mirror reported that the Champions League winners were prepared to "break the bank" to land the 27-year-old:
The Spanish giants believe Liverpool will be ready to sell Suarez for £80 million and are ready to make them an offer they can't refuse.
Real Madrid are also prepared to offer him a stunning £350,000-a-week deal.
The Independent was pedaling the same line.
Tom Sheen wrote that Suarez had "decided to leave Anfield," although he included both Barcelona and Madrid as potential destinations.
It was a similar story in Spain, where Juan Castro, writing in Marca, suggested Liverpool were the only one of the three parties not keen on negotiating a transfer, while Suarez and Madrid were, supposedly, hooked on the move.
The Spanish newspaper was so confident the deal would go through that it even mocked up a desktop wallpaper with Suarez dressed in a Madrid kit.
It was Barca, who weren't linked with the forward until fairly late in the day, that swept in to acquire his services in the end, leaving Madrid to instead sign Monaco's Colombian World Cup hero James Rodriguez.
Propaganda will now dictate whether Madrid really were 100 percent committed to signing Suarez.
The Catalans will claim the player simply preferred a move to Barcelona, where his wife's family resides, while Los Blancos may infer they pulled the plug on a potential deal because of the biting incident with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in Brazil.
Truth be told, though, Madrid have dodged a bullet with Suarez.
He's not the player they needed and would have been an unnecessary glamour signing, although that seems to concur with their transfer policy of the moment and of the past.
Of course, his arrival would have strengthened the variety and the depth of an already strong front three—Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema—but with egos running amok in modern football, four rarely goes into three.
Benzema battled with Gonzalo Higuain for the No. 9 spot at the Bernabeu for several seasons, but it never really allowed either to flourish.
Signing Suarez would have been to the detriment of the French striker, who has already demonstrated he has the ability to function with Ronaldo and Bale, earning the trio the nickname BBC.
On top of that, Suarez's name on the back of a Barca shirt has been met with a mixed reaction.
Josep Capdevila of Catalan newspaper SPORT admitted he has doubts over the player, citing a history to court controversy, a worry over whether too many cooks will spoil the broth and suggesting it could stunt the progress of younger players such as Gerard Deulofeu.
Although true, that is perhaps a defunct argument given how Florentino Perez revels in filling his squad with the world's most expensive, in-vogue superstars.
Instead, with the money he presumably had in a piggy bank for Suarez, he has signed James—again, an unneeded luxury and one which could signal bad news for Isco and Angel Di Maria.
Given players may well be forced to leave now, there does seem to be more room for James, who is four years Suarez's junior, but it comes at a slight cost: Carlo Ancelotti may have to change from his favoured 4-3-3 formation into a 4-2-3-1.
So instead of inheriting a new Uruguayan fan base, it's Colombians across the world whom are now rooting for the white half of the Spanish capital.
Madrid may have missed out on Suarez, but they won't miss him.
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