Thursday 21 September 2017

Suarez adds fuel to Gunners' transfer bid

Arsenal may attempt to trigger a €40 million transfer release clause
Arsenal may attempt to trigger a €40 million transfer release clause

Soccer Jeremy Wilson

Luis Suarez has provided Arsenal with unexpected encouragement in their attempt to prise him away from Liverpool by publicly saying that it was "good to know" he was valued by such a club.

Having previously indicated that he wants to leave England, any suggestion that Suarez is now open to the idea of moving to another Premier League club places further strain on his relationship with Liverpool.

Arsenal have already suggested a £30m fee and, although Liverpool will not consider offers below £40m, Suarez's latest remarks will give Arsene Wenger hope that a deal is still feasible.

Suarez  had previously pointed to his treatment by the English media in explaining his desire to leave Liverpool but it is understood that the ongoing absence of Champions League football was highlighted on Monday when his agent Pere Guardiola met Liverpool officials.

In an interview yesterday with a Uruguayan radio station, Suarez said: "There have been no offers yet, but Liverpool know exactly what is going on and what I want. My agent is in charge, he knows what I want. I am due back in about 10 days, on July 21 – a phone call could change everything."

Of the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea, he said: "It's good to know that I am still valued by teams like Arsenal. Friends call me up to ask if I am moving to Chelsea, to which I laugh. Don't believe everything you read or hear."

Real Madrid is still understood to be Suarez's preferred destination and there is a plausible theory that Arsenal's offer was also motivated by a desire to get the Spanish club moving on a prospective deal for Gonzalo Higuain.

Arsenal thought they were on the brink of clinching the £22m signing of Higuain, only for Madrid to stall in an attempt to secure a higher fee. Although Suarez to Madrid and Higuain to Arsenal remains the most likely outcome of all the various negotiations, Wenger's interest in Suarez is real.

Liverpool's desire to keep Suarez is also very genuine, although further discussions with Guardiola are planned as Liverpool would like the situation resolved by August.

Fellow Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, who himself is close to a move to Paris St-Germain, also yesterday highlighted the importance to Suarez of Champions League football, saying: "When you have the most complete striker in the world not playing in the top competition in Europe, then you know something is not right."

As well as a striker, Arsenal want to add a holding midfielder this summer and there is genuine interest in Manchester City's Gareth Barry. With the club having had bids turned down for Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender and Toulouse's Etienne Capoue, Barry is regarded as a sensible back-up option in the shorter-term. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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