08 July 2014

Sánchez's jersey being sold as "Suarez" as rumors pick up pace...

The rumors are multiplying like wet mogwais, and some of them have been fed after midnight. Chiellini and Branislovic have been warned. As it now goes, shops around the Camp Nou are selling jerseys featureing what was Sánchez's #9 with Suarez's name on them instead. This stops short of confirming anything, of course, as I'm pretty sure it's possible to have any name printed on any jersey. However, that cute l'il kit comes amidst a maelstrom of other reports suggesting that Suarez has confirmed his move to Barça and that Sánchez will soon do the same with Arsenal. I could care less about where Suarez ends up as long as it's not the Prem. I'm not sure why Barça need him but who am I to eny them their next shiny bauble? If we can sign Sánchez, clearing space in Barça's roster while helping them "balance" their books, so much the better.

So it looks and sounds like Suarez will join Barça for something in the £62m range, far below Liverpool's £80m valuation but still far above my own valuation for a thrice-banned biter, once-banned racist, and serial diver. That last one might find a cozier home in La Liga, for what that's worth, and if they can find a way to prevent Suarez from biting anyone, Barça have a better-than-even chance of scoring 100 goals...for the fourth season in a row. Fine. Dandy. The shops in and around Barcelona are apparently so keen on Suarez completing this move that they're selling those jerseys, and if this serves as confirmation of Suarez's move, so much the better for us.

For one, Liverpool won't have such a prolific scorer to drive their attack, and even if they now have money to burn, it's difficult to imagine them luring another top-shelf striker to join them. For one, they've already shelled out a few shillings for Lallana, Lambert, and a few others. Whatever they do get for Suarez will have to be diverted at least in part to covering those transfer-fees, leaving them with far less with which to entice others. Without being snobbish about it, it'll be harder to lure Cavani or Balotelli from Paris or Milan to Liverpool than it would be to lure them to London. However, that's Rodgers's business, not mine.

I'm far more interested in what Suarez's move means to us. I'd been chided in a previous post for suggesting that Arsenal have fallen on such hard times that top players no longer want to play for us and that we can only do our transfer business as a follow-up to other clubs' dealings. Strangely, Özil's move to the Emirates is offered as evidence for the latter—and as a rebuke to the former.  Now, Alexis Sánchez may not yet qualify as a "top" player, at least not in the same category as Özil, (choke) Suarez, or others, but he did deliver 19 goals and 10 assists for that Barcelona side while leading the line for Chile's charge deep into the World Cup. His reputation may not precede him to the degree that it does for players like Özil, but it's catching up to him.

Suarez, though, is a proven commodity (for worse as oft for better), and his move would make Sánchez ostensibly extraneous to Barça's needs. The Metro reports that he is "flying into London to complete Arsenal transfer after rejecting AC Milan and Juventus." After including a photo of Sánchez in an airport (credit the Metro for fine reportage), they then look to set a new record for the ratio of words in an article title to words in article, a ratio that approaches 1:7. Elsewhere, Tuttomercato take concision to new heights (shorts?), offering a pithy 36 words to suggeest that Sánchez is about to sign a four-year deal worth £5m per year. If true, this would pay him roughly £95k per week, up from approximately £75m per week he is currently paid. With a reported transfer-fee of £32m, this would look like a shrewd bit of business indeed.

The proof, however, is in the pudding, and we're still waiting for Gonzalo Higuain's father to announce that he has "permission from Real Madrid to negotiate face to face with Arsenal". Let's hope we're better at sealing the deal than we were last summer...or that Chileans are less-fickle than Argentinians.


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