Thursday 27 November 2014

Henry maintains stance over Suarez

Published 24/07/2013 | 18:53

Luis Suarez could take his contract dispute to court
Luis Suarez could take his contract dispute to court

Liverpool owner John Henry appears to have no intention of selling striker Luis Suarez to Arsenal - or anyone else - on the cheap or even at all.

The American, principal figure in Fenway Sports Group, appeared to dismiss the Gunners' £40million plus £1 offer in flippant fashion in a single dismissive tweet.

His "What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates" message was written on his Twitter account just after 2am local time in Boston.

While it may seem out of character - club officials have not been able to verify it was sent by Henry himself - it undoubtedly reflects the stance of the club, who insist Suarez is not for sale and even if he was he is valued at much more.

The Uruguay international played the last 20 minutes of Liverpool's 2-0 friendly win over Melbourne Victory, providing the assist for the second goal by Iago Aspas after captain Steven Gerrard had opened the scoring in the first half.

After the match manager Brendan Rodgers maintained his 'not-for-sale' stance but it appears he is fighting an increasingly futile battle even if the club rejected Arsenal's offer without a second thought.

"He's been surrounded by speculation but he's very much a Liverpool player and over the course of the next number of weeks we've got to get him up to speed and have him fit and raring to go for the beginning of the season," he told his post-match press conference.

Considering the support Liverpool have given in the wake of Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and last season's 10-game suspension - six of which have still to be served - for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic it would be safe to assume the club expected some loyalty in return.

"There's no doubt the market nowadays is very small and Luis will always be linked with top clubs but I think the support he's received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivaled," said Rodgers.

"In the period of time he's missed a lot of games for various reasons and the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him.

"So I'm sure that whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be on his mind because it's certainly something you can never forget."

Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre will hold further discussions with Suarez as the tour moves to Thailand ahead of their third and final match of the trip in Bangkok on Sunday.

However, agent Pere Guardiola told them both earlier this month the player wants to play Champions League football and as that cannot change for at least another 12 months the prospects of holding onto the 26-year-old appear slim.

The sum of Arsenal's bid met the requirements of a clause in Suarez's contract which said the club had to inform the player if an offer of £40million was made.

Suarez and his representatives may yet argue they are now in a position to negotiate with Arsenal but Liverpool will reject that assumption in a wrangle which could go on for some time.

Press Association Sport understands when Arsenal made their first approach of £30million over a fortnight ago they were told by Liverpool then that they would not entertain selling their prize asset even for £40million.

Press Association

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