Arsenal's hopes of signing Luis Suarez could be dealt a hammer blow if Real Madrid enter the bidding for the Liverpool striker.
The Evening Standard reports that the Uruguayan has not given up hope of joining the Spanish side and that he would favour a move to the Bernabeu rather than the Emirates.
The report goes on to suggest that the Liverpool striker is prepared to seek legal clarification from the Premier League in a bid to revive interest from the Spanish giants.
Thus far, neither Suarez or his club have contacted the Premier League despite differing interpretations of a clause in his current deal which Arsenal feel they have triggered with their £40,000,001 bid made earlier this month.
Suarez believed that a bid in excess of £40m would allow him to leave Anfield and join a club in the Champions League but Liverpool insist the paperwork only stipulates that the 26-year-old is entitled to be informed of any bid at that level.
The Evening Standard reports that there is a belief in Suarez’s camp that Real’s interest could be revived were the Premier League to rule in his favour and effectively set his price at one pound over £40m.
The Premier League have arbitrated on such issues before under rule T.30 which states that “any dispute or difference between a club and a player not otherwise expressly provided for in these rules may be referred in writing by either party to the board for consideration and adjudication in such manner as the board may think fit”.
Gabriel Heinze’s proposed move to Liverpool from Manchester United in 2007 fell through after an independent panel set up by the Premier League ruled that the left-back did not have a binding agreement from his club sanctioning the move.
Suarez is hoping to avoid a similar fate, despite having lost a comparable case when trying to force through a move from Groningen to Ajax in Holland — although he subsequently moved there in a separate deal.
Arsenal have made signing Suarez their main priority this summer, after losing out on a bid to sign Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Napoli last week.
It is understood Suarez is open to a move to Arsenal but began his clandestine campaign to leave Liverpool in the belief Real would be lying in wait. However, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers’s hardline stance over the club’s valuation of Suarez — publicly he is not for sale but privately the club insist he is worth in excess of £50m — coupled with Real’s ongoing pursuit of Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has left Arsenal as the only current active bidders.
Real have thus far baulked at Liverpool’s asking price given the proposed outlay for Bale and had only indicated they would be prepared to offer Gonzalo Higuain as part of a player-plus-cash deal. Higuain, another Arsenal target, has since joined Napoli but it is possible that Real could return with another offer should Suarez’s price be fixed at lower than what they had been quoted.
Arsenal’s bid is still on the table and the club are confident Real will be unable to finance deals for Bale and Suarez, leaving them in pole position to shatter their own transfer record.