Liverpool were told face-to-face by Luis Suarez’s agent yesterday that the lack of any type of European football at Anfield next season is one of the main reasons that he wants to leave the club.
In discussions which are understood to have been cordial and did not involve any transfer requests or ultimatums, the striker’s agent, Pere Guardiola, held separate meetings with the club’s managing director, Ian Ayre, and manager, Brendan Rodgers, at their respective offices in Liverpool’s Chapel Street and the Melwood training ground. It was an attempt to deliver some sense about the player’s many public expressions of discontent with life in the Premier League and obvious desire to leave.
Both men have strong working relationships with Guardiola, though the message from Liverpool was categorically that Suarez is not for sale. Guardiola’s arrival in Liverpool with a solicitor provides evidence that the Uruguayan is looking for his representatives to help secure the move to Real Madrid which he craves.
Arsenal’s unrealistic £20m offer for the striker last week may pressurise Real to conclude their business with the London club for Gonzalo Higuain. But Real are resigned to the fact that they won’t sign Gareth Bale until next season, which has reduced the need to sell Higuain and prompted their hardball stance with Arsenal. That, in turn, has prompted Arsenal to make their Suarez inquiry.
Real may need to go close to £50m to persuade Liverpool to budge over Suarez, such is their insistence – repeated to Guardiola yesterday – that they will not entertain selling.
After yesterday morning’s meeting with Ayre, which was followed by a midday meeting with Rodgers, Liverpool will also be in the picture about the litany of public complaints which Suarez has made during the Confederations Cup last month about the English media and his treatment after the Branislav Ivanovic biting incident.
Suarez’s wife, Sofia, is very settled on Merseyside but that will not be enough to alter the striker’s perspective on seeking a move. Guardiola will now seek to become the conduit for any further bids for the Uruguayan and will communicate them to the club.