By Liam Twomey
After all the controversy of the past 18 months, Luis Suarez appears to have finally settled down to the business of reminding everyone that, whatever else he may be, he is an exceptional footballer.
In addition to working defences as well as just about any other striker in the world, the skilful and tireless Uruguayan also seems to have finally found his scoring touch, netting 11 times in 16 games.
A sensational equaliser against Newcastle earlier in November prompted Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to compare his talisman to Lionel Messi and it appears that others are taking notice, too.
Thursday morning has seen numerous media reports of Premier League champions Manchester City readying a bid of around £40 million (€50m) to prise Suarez away from Anfield in January.
But, while nothing is impossible in the world of football, Rodgers was quick to quash the rumours when questioned by reporters and it would be an unlikely move on a number of levels.
|THE MANCHESTER CITY ANGLE
While Roberto Mancini, a supremely gifted footballer in his own time, has confided in those closest to him an appreciation of Suarez’s quality, he has other ideas in mind for the January transfer window.
Roberto Mancini retains a long-term interest in Stevan Jovetic (pictured), Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao
As Goal.com has previously revealed, the Italian retains a long-term interest in Fiorentina attacker Stevan Jovetic, Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Atletico Madrid hitman Radamel Falcao.
With Chelsea in pole position to sign Atleti’s prolific Colombian and the player himself apparently favouring a move to Stamford Bridge, Jovetic and Cavani remain more realistic options for City.
Fiorentina have told star man Jovetic that he will be allowed to leave this summer, while Napoli are thought to be willing to listen to serious offers for Cavani. Both could be available for as little as £25m (€31m).
Due to City’s increasing considerations of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules, any big arrival would have to be offset by the departure of a striker, most likely Edin Dzeko or Mario Balotelli.
Both have attracted interest from around Europe in recent times but the duo’s exorbitant wages remain a considerable sticking point for any potential exit – making any striking arrival a hugely complicated move.
Either way, Suarez is way down the list of City’s preferred targets.
As Rodgers has stated in no uncertain terms, as far as he is concerned, Suarez is not for sale. He is their talisman and signed a new long-term deal with the club only this summer.
Of course, life has few certainties, and Rodgers’ control over financial matters at Liverpool is limited – as evidenced by the club’s failure to secure a replacement for Andy Carroll before the transfer window shut.
Furthermore, if the Reds miss out on European football altogether this season, circumstances may change – but only if Suarez himself forces their hand.
There are few clubs in the world who would not like to have one of their players bandied around with a price-tag of £40m (€50m) or £50m (€62m) attached but, at present, Liverpool see no deal worth doing.
Then there is also the fact that, were Suarez to leave, Rodgers would have to find a replacement.
Few strikers in the world possess the Uruguayan’s blend of pace, skill and work rate, and Goal.com understands that none of City’s frontmen would consider a move to Anfield in return.
Just as Liverpool are happy with Suarez, Suarez is happy with Liverpool. The contract that he signed in the summer was not a cynical move to ramp up any transfer fee but a genuine gesture of commitment.
Even so, he is player who craves European football. A failure by Liverpool to guarantee that next season would undoubtedly sow seeds of doubt in the Uruguayan’s head and could lead to temptations elsewhere for Suarez.
If he were to leave, however, Goal.com understands that the forward would favour a move abroad, ideally to Spain, where Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked with him in recent times, rather than to a rival Premier League club.
The fact that his agent is Pep Guardiola’s brother might make a move to Camp Nou slightly easier, although his style of play might be more suited to Real Madrid – if Jose Mourinho were to make an exception to his usual desire to avoid bringing controversial characters into a settled squad.
Spanish daily AS, meanwhile, linked Atletico with a possible move to replace Falcao with Suarez on Thursday – and that, too, could tempt the frontman should he decide to leave Anfield.
For now, however, his happiness under Brendan Rodgers – reflected by his current goalscoring streak – renders all talk of a transfer at best premature.
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