John Henry: We ignored Luis Suarez's buy-out clause
Published 03/03/2014 | 07:48
Liverpool owner John Henry has revealed Luis Suarez did have a £40million buy-out clause in his last contract - but the club decided it counted for nothing when Arsenal tried to buy the striker.
The Gunners were rebuffed when they made a bold move for the Uruguayan last summer, offering £40million plus one pound in the belief it would trigger the clause and allow them to open transfer talks.
Suarez made it clear in a series of interviews last summer that he wanted to leave Anfield, but the Merseysiders were not willing to sell, even at the point where his deal said he should have been clear to depart.
Speaking this weekend at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, in a filmed panel discussion, Henry said Liverpool stood a chance of winning the Premier League title this season, and suggested keeping Suarez had been key to that prospect.
Suarez has since signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with Liverpool.
"Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the English Premier League which is arguably the top soccer league in the world," Henry said.
"And he had a buy-out clause - I don't know what degree I should go into this - but he had a buy-out clause of £40million - more than 60 million (US) dollars. So Arsenal, one of our prime rivals this year ... they offered £40million and one pound for him and triggered his buy-out clause.
"But what we've found over the years is that contracts don't seem to mean a lot in England - actually not in England, in world football. It doesn't matter how long a player's contract is, he can decide he's leaving.
"We sold Fernando Torres for £50million. We didn't want to sell but we were forced to.
"For the first time (with Suarez) we took the position that we weren't selling.
"Since apparently these contracts don't seem to hold, we took the position we're just not selling and it's been great for Luis, it's been great for us, and what will happen at the end of year ... I think we"re going to make Champions League and we have a small chance of winning the Premier League this year.
"We have three gentlemen up front: Suarez, (Raheem) Sterling and (Daniel) Sturridge. Those three are young, and I think Luis and those three could be together for a long time."