Brendan Rodgers demands loyalty from Luis Suarez
Liverpool manager wants striker to repay support shown during controversies
Luis Suarez reacts after setting up of Liverpool’s second goal against Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Brendan Rodgers has urged Luis Suarez to repay the loyalty that Liverpool demonstrated throughout his racism and biting controversies as they prepare for a protracted dispute, potentially a legal one, with Arsenal over the striker’s contract.
Suarez and his agent, Pere Guardiola, believe talks should commence on a prospective move to Arsenal now Liverpool have received an offer of more than £40 million – albeit by one pound – for the Uruguay international.
Liverpool maintain that a clause in the contract Suarez signed last August obliges them only to consider a bid in excess of £40 million and inform the player of developments. The striker is valued at more than £55 million by the Anfield club and Real Madrid, set to bank £34.5m from the sale of Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli, may show interest.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
John W Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, underlined his club’s view that Arsenal did not trigger a release clause in Suarez’s contract with Tuesday’s offer of £40,000,001 when he mocked the bid on Twitter. “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?” he posted.
Liverpool are angered it took Arsenal two weeks to improve their initial offer of £30 million plus £5 million in add-ons. Arsenal, evidently encouraged to believe that £40,000,001 would prompt negotiations with Suarez, hope the 26-year-old will agitate for an exit from Anfield.
A Premier League or legal hearing could ultimately be required to resolve the stand-off. Daniel Geey, a football lawyer, said: “Premier League regulatory commissions have previously been tasked to look at such cases, as Liverpool know from the Christian Ziege ruling in 2002. The difficulty in the Luis Suarez case is that, even if it went as far as a regulatory commission or to court, and the judge made it clear what the clause says, that is not going to happen before this transfer window closes and perhaps not even before the January window closes.
“Presumably Arsenal are not supposed to know about any confidential clauses in Suarez’s contract. That was the problem for Liverpool in the Ziege case when they were fined for making an illegal approach after they were informed of a £5.5 million release clause in Ziege’s [Middlesbrough] contract.
“The commercial reality is that Luis Suarez may have to force Liverpool’s hand or Arsenal will raise their offer. Liverpool are not going to force the issue in relation to a provision which they believe does not allow Suarez to speak to prospective suitors.”
Rodgers was due to hold further talks with Suarez after Liverpool’s pre-season friendly over Melbourne Victory yesterday. The striker received a rousing reception from a remarkable crowd of 95,446 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where he appeared as a 72nd-minute substitute and created a late goal for Iago Aspas in Liverpool’s 2-0 win.
It was Suarez’s first club appearance since receiving a 10-match ban for biting the Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April. Rodgers believes the support the striker received from Liverpool then, and throughout the Patrice Evra racism controversy, should be reciprocated.
The Liverpool manager said: “I think the support he’s received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled.
“In the period of time he’s missed a lot of games for various reasons and the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him. So I’m sure that, whatever happens in the coming weeks, that will be on his mind.”