The Merseysiders do not want to sell their prize asset to a domestic rival but are ready to listen to marquee bids from overseas in the forthcoming transfer window
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Liverpool are willing to offload Luis Suarez abroad if they receive a marquee offer this summer, Goal.com understands.
The Merseysiders’ public position on Monday is that the controversial striker will not be sold in the forthcoming transfer window following his bite on Branislav Ivanovic.
But, privately, the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), were prepared to consider bids for Suarez even before his latest outrageous misdemeanour.
Sources have said that the Uruguayan would have to push for a move but it could happen if there is a “huge amount of money” on the table from a potential buyer.
Liverpool are believed to be firmly opposed to selling Suarez to a domestic rival but would consider offers from abroad. The expectation is that £40-million-plus bids would bring FSG to the negotiating table.
“If it makes sense to sell Suarez, they will sell him,” a source close to the situation told Goal.com. “They don’t want to sell him in England and they wouldn’t sell him without getting a huge amount of money but it is a definite possibility.”
Only a handful of clubs in the world would be able to afford a £40m-plus fee, combined with the type of salary that the 26-year-old Player-of-the-Year nominee could command on the open market.
Suarez has been most consistently linked to Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain but the Italian giants could not afford him and the Bundesliga champions have prioritised the capture of Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool’s stance, which is unrelated to the events of Sunday, is principally a consequence of the club’s financial situation, which will be squeezed by a fourth consecutive campaign without Champions League revenue next season.
The Reds’ most recent set of accounts revealed a £41m loss for the year ending July 2012, which followed a £49m deficit in 2011. The club’s £169m 2011-12 turnover pales in comparison with the likes of Manchester United (£320m), Arsenal (£245m), Chelsea (£261m) and Manchester City (£231m) despite the Merseysiders securing some impressive commercial deals in recent years.
The sale of Suarez, comfortably the club’s biggest football asset, would stem Liverpool’s losses and provide greater leeway for Brendan Rodgers and the recruitment team in the transfer market.
Much will depend on the attitude of the forward, who has been roundly condemned by the entire football community for sinking his teeth into Ivanovic’s arm during his side’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea.
The Uruguayan opened the door to offers with comments in his homeland in March that he would welcome the chance to join a club who could offer Champions League football.
“I am very happy at Liverpool but you never know in football,” said Suarez. “A player’s ambition is always there, the ambition of wanting to play in elite teams is always there. I’m in a world-class team, an elite team like Liverpool.
“If another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games, which is willing to have me, they are welcome. We would talk to the club. We would see if I want to go, if I don’t want to go.”
Rodgers admitted in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s clash that “no player is irreplaceable”.
Liverpool revealed on Monday that Suarez has been fined for biting Ivanovic and that he asked for the figure to go to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
Asked if the events of the last 24 hours will have no bearing on Suarez’s future, managing director Ian Ayre replied: “Not at all. It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline but Luis is a very important player to the club. He’s a very popular player with his team-mates.
“As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract.
“He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it’s largely down to Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character.
“Brendan has spoken to him and I’ve spoken to him and Brendan will be working with him further on his discipline. You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he’s certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us.”
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