Suarez ready for legal battle as Liverpool refuse to sell
Want-away striker could drag Liverpool into arbitration for ruling on desired move to Arsenal
Liverpool have once again insisted that Luis Suarez is not for sale but the striker's contract dispute could end up in a Premier League arbitration hearing if he persists in trying to force through a move to Arsenal.
This morning Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre reiterated: "It's never been our intention to sell Luis. We've received 2 separate offers from Arsenal and rejected both."
"So, our situation remains the same and Luis Suarez remains a Liverpool player. He's here in Thailand as part of our squad."
However, Suarez and his advisers remain at loggerheads with Liverpool over the interpretation of a clause in the deal he signed almost a year ago which Arsenal triggered this week by bidding £40,000,001 for the 26-year-old.
Liverpool have rejected the offer, but have given Suarez permission to discuss personal terms with Arsenal, insisting his contract requires them to do no more than that.
Suarez, on the other hand, believes Arsenal have triggered a formal release clause that gives Liverpool no choice but to sell him.
If Liverpool refuse to back down, Suarez's first recourse would be to the Premier League, who can arbitrate in disputes between players and their clubs, including over transfers.
It would not be the first time Suarez has taken such a step, having lost a similar case in Holland while trying to move from Groningen to Ajax, where he ended up anyway.
The most notable case presided over by the Premier League also involved Liverpool, who in 2007 tried to sign Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United.
Heinze took United to arbitration, claiming United had given him written permission to pursue a transfer to another club. However, the panel decided that the letter in question did not constitute a binding agreement for United, but only an 'agreement to agree' and thus did not constitute an obligation to sell the player.
The panel also agreed it should be interpreted in context of verbal discussion and the club's policy of not transferring players to Liverpool.
There is also the prospect of Liverpool making a formal complaint to the Premier League about Arsenal's bid for Suarez. Contract clauses are usually confidential and Liverpool themselves were fined £20,000 in 2002 for making an illegal approach for Christian Ziege after meeting his precise Middlesbrough release clause. (© Daily Telegraph, London)