Arsenal risk missing out on Luis Suarez if they play hardball with Liverpool

It feels like an eternity ago that I
wrote my anti-Luis Suarez blog given the twists and turns that have gone
on since then. Now, my views on Suarez have not changed but sadly (for me) I
have to wise up to the fact that this signing could very well become reality.

For
the time being it is not the actual signing that is the biggest challenge, it’s
the club following through on their intent. One thing is for sure, we’ve pissed
Liverpool off. So much so that they their owner accused our club of ‘smoking’
something.  That can only mean Liverpool will be digging in their heels
for as long as they possibly can and ultimately they’d probably prefer to sell
to anyone but us.

Going
£1 over may seem tactful but in truth it’s petty and amateurish. Why not bid £42m,
be taken seriously and have an easier platform to negotiate from? This has
become a defining moment for our club and its transfer policy. I’m not going to
pan the club for spending money, I actually encourage that but it’s very
childish behaviour and it seems like we don’t know how to behave with our
new found self sustained wealth. 

The Transfer

It’s out in the open for the whole world to see and it’s quite clearly down to
Liverpool and/or Team Suarez spilling the beans. Ian Ayre has openly
spoken about this and the papers have had a field day this week, especially
after they found out about the all important £1.

Liverpool
will want £50m not only because of the ability of their player but ultimately
because they will be screwed without him. Imagine having Daniel Sturridge as
your lead man upfront? Liverpool finished seventh last season, they’ve changed
their keeper (who is a gamble in my opinion) and they could lose their main
source of goals. The sale is hardly going to elevate you ahead of Everton and Tottenham
Hotspur overnight is it? I was also quite surprised to find that
we only scored one more league goal than Liverpool last season. 

Now when it is believed that Liverpool want £50m and we want to bid £40m, I
really hope we don’t over negotiate on this deal. After all £40m is a colossal
amount of cash but we are a Gervinho fee away from signing Suarez, that’s what
it has come down to. Should that get in the way? Of course it shouldn’t. I’d
imagine there will be additional payments galore in any mega money deal but I’m
pretty sure a club that hasn’t won a trophy since 2005 isn’t going to get much
change out of trophy bonuses. Liverpool have experience in dealing with Chelsea
and getting what they want. You can’t penny pinch around £40m
signings, that ship sailed as soon as we declared interest in Suarez. 

The Player

Suarez didn’t look best impressed the other day against Melbourne Victory but
then he was never going to. He’s turning his back on Liverpool, so he’s hardly
going to be skipping around a pitch in a friendly. He will also be concerned
that he isn’t going to play in any form of European competition this season and
nor will he play in the champions league with Liverpool for at least the next
two seasons. So who can blame him for wanting out? It’s worth noting the importance
of Champions League football at this point, as we are often dismissive about
such an achievement. Liverpool cannot expect loyalty from a player just because
he stood by them, we’ve been down that route with Robin van Persie after
all. 

The Closer

Do we have anyone who can close the deal? Clearly Gonzalo Higuain was a target
but it slipped away. There are many aspects that can change a deal but one
thing is for sure, you have to be committed to the signing. If fees and terms
have been agreed then our club has to pressure the seller into doing the deal. Real
Madrid are the masters, they bided their time and won an extra £10m, fair play
to them.  Surely if we wanted the player enough, we might have had to part
with a couple of extra euros to seal the transfer but what’s one or two million
in football? If we want to sign Suarez, harass Liverpool and get the deal done.
No excuses, go in, get the player and leave. We used to be very good at this
when David Dein was in charge, he got Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt in a
matter of weeks. Ivan Gazidis’ reputation is on the line (as is Dick
Law’s) and I feel that his MLS background doesn’t help him when it comes
to dealing with other clubs. 

The Next Level

Sometimes you have to gamble to reach the next level in football and this is
where we are at right now. £40-50mis a lot, but is it a lot if you win domestic
or European honours? It’s merely a drop in the ocean. It’s worth stating that
if we did pay £50m then we’d hold the record transfer fee along with Chelsea
for Fernando Torres. Yes, more than Manchester United, Manchester City and
Liverpool. If this does go tits up we’ll be stuck with a record signing of £15m
or thereabouts. Just to put that into context Newcastle United paid that much
for Alan Shearer in 1996, that was only 17 years ago. If we want to dine
at the top table than we have to behave like it. The buyer invariably has to
pay over the top, that’s the nature of a transfer. This isn’t a wholesale
event, there is little in the way of strikers on the market and at present
I just don’t have confidence in our staff to get the job done. We
have been out of touch for so long and I think this has had an effect
on the way we deal with clubs. In that respect our mentality of becoming a
selling club has hindered more than the playing staff but those off it as
well. After all if you tot up all of our big sales this is a case of Emmanuel Adebayor
+ Samir Nasri = Suarez.

Sign
On

I
don’t want Suarez but I want Arsenal to prove to us all that we do in fact have
the ability to compete with the rest. I would also like to think that this
isn’t the only deal we’ll secure but let’s learn to walk before we can run. The
days of “spend some fucking money” will go up in smoke. We
should be stronger and you’d think we’d get more points as a result.
However, the club has a nasty habit of fuelling the boo boys and I’m
getting a sense of deja vu because the club have instilled that in
us. Now it’s time to experience the other side of a top transfer and it needs
to happen fast. It’s the old sticky plaster technique, you know it’s going
to smart, just rip it off and move on.

Michael Jeffares


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