Rodgers ‘surprised’ by Arsenal ’s Suarez bid
Liverpool boss accuses Gunners of ‘lacking class’ in activating player’s get out clause
Luis Suarez of Liverpool gets ready to come on to the pitch during Steven Gerrard’s testimonial against Olympiacos at Anfield on Saturday. Photograph: Getty Images
Brendan Rodgers has accused Arsenal of lacking class with their attempt to activate a disputed clause in Luis Suarez’s contract by one English pound.
Suarez was the only member of Liverpool’s first-team squad not to attend a testimonial dinner for Steven Gerrard on Saturday, having earlier received a warm reception from the Anfield crowd during a 2-0 friendly defeat of Olympiakos. The gala dinner at ACC Liverpool was part of the captain’s efforts to raise more than £1 million for his charitable foundation.
Suarez and his representatives believe the 26-year-old should be allowed to open talks with Arsenal after they offered £40,000,001 a fortnight ago.
Liverpool insist a bid over £40 million entitles Suarez to be informed of rival interest and for the club to enter negotiations if they wish but nothing more.
And Rodgers has described the sum offered as disrespectful as he reiterated Liverpool’s intention to hold the Uruguay international to a further 12 months of a contract that has three years remaining.
“I was surprised,” said the Liverpool manager of Arsenal’s second bid for Suarez.
“I’ve got to say I’ve always associated Arsenal as a club with class and so there was a wee bit of a game there. For us, it’s about moving on and doing our own work. There will come a point where they understand our position.”
Suarez has told Liverpool he wishes to join a club in the Champions League, having previously claimed he wanted to leave England. Rodgers insists the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, are not looking to cash in on the forward.
Rodgers, who spoke to the principal owner, John W Henry, about Suarez on Friday, said: “I’m extremely confident that Luis will be here [next season].
“The offers have come in as you would expect for one of the world’s leading strikers but as time goes by I’m gaining more confidence because I have a chance to be with him on a day-to-day basis and he gets the chance to be around his team-mates. We’re in total control of the situation.
“The owners have been brilliant. If it was another club needing the money or desperate for the money it could have been a different story. But John Henry and Tom [Werner, the chairman] have been first class through the whole process, so there are no arguments there and it gives you the confidence they are not in any hurry to sell because they understand we are trying to build here.”
Rodgers refused to divulge details of his conversations with Suarez since the club rejected Arsenal’s offer, while admitting all players have their price and that Real Madrid’s world record offer for Gareth Bale exposed the weakness of Arsenal’s move for Suarez.
He said: “Gareth Bale is a wonderful player and if they are prepared to pay that money, that’s where he is, but there is no way he is 100 per cent better than Luis Suarez.
“But it’s not something we want to entertain this year. We understand it could be different next summer. A player with two years left on his contract is totally different but Luis has three and we want to bring people in to play around and with him so we can sustain a challenge this year.”
Arsene Wenger, for his part, feels Arsenal have acted with respect and class . “We try to do it properly,” the manager said yesterday. “A transfer is always an agreement between three parties and we have always done that until now.”
Liverpool’s attempts to get players in include a €25 million bid for Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid and they are hopeful the Brazilian striker will this week inform the Spanish club he wants the move.