The Spanish giants are preparing to make a second bid for the Liverpool star that matches the release clause in his contract as talks reach an advanced stage
By Wayne Veysey
Barcelona are on the verge of completing the €88 million signing of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Senior officials from Liverpool and Barcelona met in London on Wednesday, with the Catalan club making an initial offer for Suarez of around €82m.
While that initial offer was rebuffed, and discussions involving Alexis Sanchez in a potential cash-plus-player deal were short-lived, Barcelona are now confident of wrapping up the signing in a straight cash deal.
The Spanish giants are expected to table an improved offer that will meet the release fee stipulated in the contract Suarez signed last December. Goal understands that this figure is just over the €88m mark.
Liverpool are still pursuing Sanchez but they are behind Arsenal in the race to land the Chile World Cup star, who is not part of the deal to take Suarez to Camp Nou.
The Merseysiders now expect to receive the third-highest transfer fee for a player at a Premier League club, beaten only by Gareth Bale’s €100m move to Real Madrid last summer and Cristiano Ronaldo’s €94m transfer from Manchester United to the reigning European champions in 2009.
Liverpool’s American owners vowed to stand firm on Suarez’s valuation after he had tarnished his image by biting Giorgio Chiellini and incurring a four-month ban from Fifa.
Fenway Sports Group were adamant during talks with Barca that Suarez could only leave if the valuation of his release fee was met.
Liverpool have not denied that, as revealed by Goal, a release fee was inserted in the new €283,000-a-week contract that Suarez signed at the end of 2013.
All parties now expect the 27-year-old to transfer to Camp Nou and line up alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar in a star-studded front line next season.
Barca went public with their interest in the Uruguayan on Tuesday when sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta praised “humble” Suarez for apologising via Twitter for biting Chiellini.
This open display of affection for the player came just 24 hours before a meeting in London between Barca and Liverpool, who had no involvement in Suarez’s apology.
“Everyone knows that Luis is an excellent player, everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player,” the Zubizarreta said.
“Regardless of whether the club signs him or not, his quality is unquestionable. He has shown a lot of quality with Uruguay and scored more than 30 goals with Liverpool, so he has the necessary quality to play for Barca.”