Liverpool to cut losses on Suarez
Barcelona wait in wings as Reds owners seek clarity on ban and release clause
LIVERPOOL are prepared to cut their losses and sell Luis Suarez to Barcelona after the player's latest biting ban – but only at the full valuation of the player's release clause, a club source has revealed.
The Merseyside club are not willing to sell the player at a devalued rate despite Suarez's four-month ban from all footballing activities, following his attack on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
The Irish Independent can reveal that Liverpool will base any potential legal action against the FIFA ban on the main point that Suarez cannot attend any training sessions with the club until the suspension has expired.
A senior Liverpool source said last night that the training-ground ban, which the club is seeking further clarification on, is seen as a "major, major problem".
"Suarez can train by himself all he likes, but for a player to achieve levels of expected fitness it is useless unless he can train with team-mates," said the club insider. "Effectively he won't be ready to play football competitively until long after the ban, and that doesn't seem fair."
The club's American owners are believed to be deeply unhappy with Suarez's behaviour, not just from a PR point of view, but the situation has now become "a serious financial issue".
"First of all Liverpool is seen as a family club, but bigger than that is the financial implication that this ban could bring, and that is what really worries the owners," said the source.
The club is also deeply unhappy with the player after sources close to Suarez began to orchestrate a move to Spain, just days before he bit Chiellini.
There is a feeling at the club that Suarez wants out despite the fact that he previously stated that he would stay if Liverpool achieved Champion's League qualification. "I think the club will sell him, but only if someone comes in at the agreed release clause. He is looking to leave anyway," added the source.
This is the second summer running that Suarez's future at Anfield is the subject of intense speculation while the player is banned. Barcelona have emerged as leading suitors, with Real Madrid also believed to be interested. The full details of the release clause are not entirely unknown but it is estimated that a fee of around £68m would be needed to activate it.
Even before this week, Suarez had looked bent on forcing a move from England and Uruguayan sources indicated on Thursday that he would seek to use what the Uruguayan FA branded an "English, Italian and Brazilian conspiracy" against him to argue that he cannot be expected to play on in England.