Inside Liverpool: what next for Luis Suarez?

The Uruguay international is unhappy with the club’s owners over his summer transfer saga and would be unwilling to sign a new contract

By Duncan Castles

Of one thing Luis Suarez is clear. The Americans who own Liverpool Football Club, the men with whom he agreed a new contract a year ago on the express understanding that his future there depended on reaching the Champions League, are no longer to be trusted.

His upset, frustration and sense of betrayal has nothing to do with Liverpool itself. Suarez has appreciated his two-and-half years in the city, is grateful to the club’s fervent supporters for their backing through times good and grim.

When his latest long suspension lifts he will return to being the Suarez allies adore and opponents find odious; the relentless, unpredictable fighter who gives everything to win.



As for his Fenway Sports Group employers, Suarez is done with them. The sooner he can sever their contractual relationship the better. If John W Henry and co. thought that rejecting two formal offers from Arsenal would end this particular Melwood drama for the season they were mistaken.

Yes, Suarez is still at Liverpool. Yes, Henry’s early August assertion that “to sell [Suarez] to a rival for those [Champions League] positions would be ludicrous” ultimately forced Arsenal to spend their transfer slush fund in a different country on a different position. It is the means FSG used to achieve those ends that are at issue.

For those who questioned whether he really wanted out of Anfield, the Uruguayan laid his desire on the line a few days before Henry.

“Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I’d be allowed to go,” Suarez explained in a carefully considered interview.

“I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish – now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement.”

Liverpool accept that an escape clause was inserted in Suarez’s contract when the deal was extended in August 2012. Their argument is that the clause was did not force them to sell the striker at the agreed £40 million fee, merely to discuss his sale. If their lawyers clearly framed it skilfully, the ethics of it have appalled.

“You cannot trust them when they always do the opposite of what they agreed,” says a friend of Suarez when asked what he expects of FSG next.

There have been suggestions that Liverpool will seek to offer Suarez another new contract in an attempt to fix the problem. The player is adamant that should they try, the document will remain unsigned. He’s not thinking of staying at the club, he’s wondering exactly when he can get out.

January is one possibility, though transfer fees of the scale required to extract Suarez are rarely paid in the winter window. Sometime next summer is a more realistic time scale, and Suarez certainly does not intend to be working for FSG by this time next year.

Clearly, his destination will be a Champions League club. Given Henry’s stated opposition to selling to a direct rival that club is more likely to be outside the Premier League than in it. Spain is the country Suarez would most like to move to and Real Madrid – who explored signing him this summer but ended up directing their funds to Gareth Bale instead – still need a centre forward.

In the meantime, Suarez intends to play his heart out for Liverpool. A friendship with and deep respect for Steven Gerrard helped smooth his return to training during the release clause crisis. Suarez has been impressed by Daniel Sturridge’s contribution in his absence and will have no issue with playing on the wing when he is free to return from his 10-match ban for the Capital One Cup tie at Manchester United on September 25.

Suarez is nothing if not strong-minded. Selfishness, though, he leaves for others.

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