have opened talks with Luis Suarez’s agent over the new contract they hope will keep the
Uruguay international at Anfield and out of the reach of Europe’s richest clubs for the prime of his career.
The Anfield club’s managing director, Ian Ayre, flew to Barcelona yesterday for preliminary negotiations with Pere Guardiola, the agent involved in the striker’s dispute with Liverpool over the terms in his existing deal when Arsenal tried to sign him in the summer.
Suarez has two and a half years remaining on his contract and Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, have been reluctant to offer extensions midway through a season. Such has been Suarez’s stunning form, with his 17 goals in 11 matches propelling Liverpool to within two points of the Premier League leaders, Arsenal, that those plans have been revised.
Real Madrid were interested in the 26-year-old in the summer but did not lodge an official bid, although they are expected to again be among Suarez’s suitors at the end of this campaign.
Liverpool hope to head off another summer of speculation by offering to make Suarez the highest-paid player at Anfield at a time when his career is flourishing under Brendan Rodgers.
The rehabilitation of the Premier League's leading goalscorer was reflected in a rare individual accolade on Monday, when he was named the 2013 player of the year at the Football Supporters' Federation Awards at the Emirates Stadium.
Former Italy and AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has rejected accusations of his alleged involvement in match-fixing and dramatically claimed he would kill himself if found guilty.
Gattuso, a 2006 World Cup winner who played for Rangers in the late 1990s, was on Tuesday named by Italian media in a probe being carried out by Cremona’s prosecuting office. Ex-Lazio midfielder Cristian Brocchi is included in the investigation, according to reports.
Both face allegations that they were involved in a betting ring that fixed Serie A and other Italian games in the 2010-11 campaign. Quoted in La Repubblica Sport, Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia: “Never have I ever had the slightest thought about possibly fixing a game. “If something was proven I would be willing to go out into the street and, I know this is a strong thing to say, I would kill myself.”
Arsenal's Jack Wilshere has been charged by the Football Association over an alleged gesture made during the fixture with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Television cameras picked up Wilshere raising his middle finger in the direction of home supporters during the second half of the Gunners' 6-3 defeat.