The Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is expected to tell Brendan Rodgers tomorrow that he wants to speak officially to Arsenal about a move following their bid of £40m plus £1, which the player believes obliges Liverpool to sell.
Suarez and his agent, Pere Guardiola, brother of the Bayern Munich manager Pep, have worked on the understanding that a clause in the player's contract states that Liverpool's failure this season to secure Champions League football means any bid in excess of £40m from a club in the competition would require Liverpool to sell the player. They are mystified as to why Liverpool have rejected the Arsenal bid out of hand.
In private, Arsenal believe that the offer is adequate for them to be allowed to talk to Suarez. They made the bid specifically on the understanding that it would force the issue.
The Gunners are set to miss out on their second option, the Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, as he and Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina both passed their medicals with Napoli today. While there are obvious fears that Higuain moving to Italy could trigger a bid from Real for Suarez - leaving Arsenal hunting for a new striker - the Uruguayan's position is that he does not have a preference for Madrid. Arsenal are aware that they are playing a delicate game of negotiation but are confident that they can get Suarez.
Napoli are thought to have an agreement with Real Madrid to buy Higuain for £31m, more than Arsenal have offered, with that deal now expected to be completed.
There is no guarantee that, even with the proceeds from Higuain's sale, Madrid would outbid Arsenal for Suarez and, as is their way, the Spanish club would probably try to make one of their unwanted players part of the deal.
A day of tension between the two Premier League clubs ended with Suarez making his first appearance for Liverpool - on tour in Melbourne, Australia - since he bit Branislav Ivanovic on the arm at Anfield on 21 April. A 72nd-minute substitute, he set up the second goal for Iago Aspas in a 2-0 Liverpool win over Melbourne Victory in front of 95,446 fans at the MCG.
After the game, Rodgers said he was not surprised that a player of Suarez's calibre should attract big-money offers from rival clubs but that the Uruguayan should remember how the Liverpool fans have stuck by him despite all the controversy that has engulfed him at times.
"I think the support that he's received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled," Rodgers said.
"In the period of time, he's missed a lot of games for the club through various reasons. And the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him.
"So I'm sure whatever happens in the coming weeks, that will be in his mind because it's certainly something you can never forget."
The expectation is that the player will tell Liverpool that he wants to leave and would accept a move to Arsenal. Should an offer of that size, or greater, be accepted by Liverpool it would break Arsenal's record transfer fee by some margin. The club's record transfer has never been clear but is thought to be the 2009 deal for Andrei Arshavin, worth more than £15m.
In response to Arsenal's offer, the principal owner of Liverpool, John W Henry, provoked a considerable response when he tweeted: "What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?" The club have stated consistently that Suarez, who is four games into a 10-match ban for biting Ivanovic, is not for sale and it is clear that if he is to leave then it will require the player to force the situation.
Beyond Suarez and Higuain, Arsenal have a much-reduced set of options, possibly including the Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. Wayne Rooney, another target, is the focus of Chelsea's remaining activity in the window and they have always been determined to out-bid Arsenal for the player should Manchester United consent to sell.
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