03 July 2014

Liverpool look to go full-Tottenham with sale of Suarez...

Apologies, first of all, for the dearth of postings. I'm camping in the Maine woods where internet is spotty. It's been hard to stay abreast of, much analyze or respond to, goings-on other than the whereabouts of bear-defecations. So that's one rumor confirmed. Still open but feeling tantalizingly close is the idea that Alexis Sánchez might be on his way away from Barcelona—with Arsenal touted as his most-likely destination—paving the way for Suarez to leave Liverpool. Have the Liverputians learnt nothing from Spuds? It was a summer ago that saw our London "rivals" sell their talismanic goal-scorer to Spain to finance the purchase of a raft of new players only to stumble along to a sixth-place finish. Could Liverpool be set to reprise the role?

However, we're still reading tea-leaves rather than official club websites. Liverpool and Barcelona have apparently been in some talks about the sale of Suarez, with Sánchez included as Barça's way to knock down the fee. Whether the player is interested in such a move is an open question.

Proving yet again that this whole "mes que un club" stuff is purely puerile, Barcelona are apparently interested in purchasing Luis 'Dracu-Luis' Suarez, with "productive" talks over Suarez moving to Camp Nou for a fee somewhere in the £80m range, with his apology (of sorts) apparently more about making nice for Barça than about making amends. His four-month ban is unlikely to deter the likes of them, what with Messi and Neymar prepared to bang in goals regardless of his availability. However, Barça apparently want to include Sánchez as part of a package to reduce the fee for Sánchez to £60m, which seems to appeal to Liverpool without necessarily convincing them. Their priority might be for the cash and moving Suarez on, perhaps believing that Sterling and Sturridge can lead the line.

The Guardian reports that Barcelona has offered £70m for Suarez, short of Liverpool's valuation for a three-times banned biter who might be one more such incident away from a season-long ban, it not more. The move now hinges on Sánchez's willingness to leave Barcelona. It seems to be good to be true, more a repeat of the Özil deal than the Higuain fiasco: rival club sells talisman, buyer sells to us to help balance (ahem) books. Strengthening the similaries, Liverpool look to have deals in place for up to five players—Lallana, Lambert, and Can are already in place, and a fair few more targets are lined up. Is it a stretch to suggest that Liverpool are then about to reprise Tottenham's approach last summer?

We saw how Spurs' £100m-frenzy amounted to less than naught as they finished lower than fifth even after Man U's shambolic season. The parallels between that and Liverpool are hard to ignore. With the deals for Lallana, Lambert, and Can already in place, Liverpool will surely have to sell, and Suarez has obliged by biting Chiellini. He'll miss nearly a quarter of the Prem season, plus most of the Champions League group stage, and would likely be completely out of fitness by the time he returns. He's therefore more than expendable, and if Barça are willing to pay top-shelf prices for damaged goods, that's their business. Along similar lines, though, they'll likely to clear some space on the balance-sheet and on the pitch, and Sánchez looks like the man most-likely to do that.

However, a move to Liverpool seems unlikely, as Barça might expect that this would knock some £30m from the fee for Suarez. Call me crazy, but with Liverpool having already invested more than £40m on the trio of players mentioned above, they might be more interested in the cash. If we can then step in with an offer for Sánchez, well, this looks like the kind of win-win situation in which we come out the real winners. Barça can have Suarez and all of his racistly diving bitiness, Liverpool can get the cash they need to cover their meth-addled spending spree, and we can get the striker we need to play alongside and instead of Giroud. Sánchez has shown, for club and country, that he can play wide or centrally, and he has the creativity and tenacity to create chances for himself and for teammates.

Unfortunately, in true Arsènian fashion, we've apparently made a low-ball bid of £22m. Even if Barça sees the sale of Sánchez to us as a way to make nice after pinching so many of our players in the past, it's unlikely they'd sell for so much less than his apparent £30m valuation. It make tiake a little more from us to prise him from Barça and trigger the Suarez deal—in a manner similar to the Bale-Özil carousel—but in Sánchez, we would not only address one of our own needs, we'd also potentially undermine the aspirations of a key rival. Could Liverpool revamp its starting line-up with as many as a half-dozen new players while also filling the void left by the departure of their most-incisive striker? I believe White Hart Lane could weigh in.

Far be it from me to tell other clubs what to do. Suffice it to say, when you try to build a club à la carte, it can come back to bite you in the arse.

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