Suarez battle turns ugly

An opening bid of £35 million has been rejected, whilst Arsenal have since upped the deal to £40 million and a pound, a bid designed to trigger a clause in Suarez’s contract.

What that clause means is something Arsenal do not know, and is being debated by Liverpool and Suarez. Liverpool claim it is a clause which means that Suarez has to be informed of an approach for his services when a bid of that size comes in. Suarez says Liverpool promised that it means that he will be sold for that price if the club fail to qualify for the Champions League, which transpired last season.

Arsenal meanwhile, appear ready to up the ante further, with a bigger bid designed to force Liverpool into selling. Suarez is ready to hand in a transfer request, and the Anfield giants may yet have to sell for less than the £50 million they are demanding for their prized asset.

The whole messy saga does not reflect well on any party. Liverpool for their part have made a mess of Suarez’s contract, given the debate over its real meaning. Arsenal are suddenly prepared to flash the cash around as they have never done before. If they sign Suarez, it would be the biggest transfer the club have made since a mercurial Dutchman called Dennis Bergkamp walked through the door almost 20 years ago.

For Liverpool, the loss of Suarez is worrying but they can come out of it stronger. With the best part of £50 million to spend, they could bring in the Valencia forward Roberto Soldado. Soldado is not as good a player as Suarez, but is as good a goalscorer. If they also bring in a playmaker in the shape of Cristian Eriksen of Ajax then Liverpool could come out of it stronger.

The club and its fans are right to feel aggrieved however at the way in which Suarez is trying to force his move. Suarez has been supported solidly by the club and its fans amid various controversies, from the alleged racial abuse towards Patrice Evra and last season’s biting fiasco involving Branislav Ivanovic, for which there are still six games Suarez is banned for next season.

Having also proclaimed his hatred for the British press and the way they have treated him – and justifiably so – it seems strange to now try to force a move through to another English club. Sure Arsenal offer Champions League football, so the move does represent a step up, but it is hardly a colossal leap, and Liverpool are right to expect loyalty. They are pushing for the Champions League and leaving for their biggest threat in terms of a top four spot would be the ultimate kick in the teeth. That kick in the teeth is seeming more and more likely every day though as this Suarez fiasco rumbles towards a conclusion.