Reds agree £75m Suarez Barca sale

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Luis Suarez could move to Barcelona © Vegard Grott/Propaganda Photo

Luis Suarez is moving to Barcelona © Vegard Grott / Propaganda Photo

Luis Suarez has today had his long-awaited transfer from Liverpool to Spanish giants Barcelona agreed, for a fee in the region of £75m.

Liverpool were hoping to strike a deal with the Catalan club to take Chile’s World Cup star, Alexis Sanchez, in part exchange for the Uruguayan. However, when it became clear that Sanchez was not keen on joining the Reds as he preferred Arsenal, Barcelona agreed to pay Suarez’ full transfer fee in cash.

Suarez said: “It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain. Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city.

“But most of all I have fallen in love with the incredible fans. You have always supported me and we, as a family, will never forget it, we will always be Liverpool supporters.”

It has been apparent for some time that Suarez has been looking for a way out of England and it seems that the forward’s latest controversy, which saw him receive a four-month ban from all footballing activity as well as a nine-match international ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini, was the last straw for officials at Liverpool, as they resigned themselves to losing their supremely talented but flawed player.

It may now be at an end but Luis Suarez’ three-and-a-half year stay on Merseyside has been nothing short of sensational.

He first signed for Liverpool on transfer deadline day in January 2011 for approximately £22.5m from Dutch side Ajax, on the same day that the Reds sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m – a club record transfer fee until Barcelona broke it with this deal.

Kenny Dalglish signed Luis Suarez in 2011 © Trinity Mirror

Kenny Dalglish signed Luis Suarez in 2011 © Trinity Mirror

Suarez arrived at the club with an already controversial reputation after receiving a seven-game suspension in Holland after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal, and the infamous sending off during Uruguay’s quarter-final match against Ghana at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, for clearing the ball off the line with his hand in the dying moments of extra-time.

However, his first six months at Liverpool during the second half of the 2010/11 Premier League season proved that the Uruguayan was a unique talent as well as being somewhat of a fiery character.

Suarez provided Reds fans with an immediate taste of his goalscoring prowess when he found the net on his debut against Stoke after coming on as a second half substitute.

The forward then went about terrorising defences in England for the remainder of the season, most evidently when he inspired his side to a 3-1 victory over fierce rivals Manchester United at Anfield in March 2011. Suarez finished the campaign with four goals in 13 league games.

The 2011/12 Premier League season marked Suarez’ first full season in England. Despite producing many moments of magic in a red shirt and ending the season with a League Cup winner’s medal after Liverpool overcame Championship side Cardiff City on penalties in the final, the 27-year-old’s season was overshadowed by an incident involving Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, in which the Liverpool forward was found guilty of racially abusing the Frenchman, receiving an eight-game ban as a result.

Questions also remained over the forward’s profligacy in front of goal, with Suarez finding the net just 11 times in 31 league appearances.

The following season Suarez answered those questions emphatically, under the guidance of new manager Brendan Rodgers, scoring 23 goals in 33 games and looking far more assured with his finishing.

The Uruguayan looked set to win his first Golden Boot in England in a close-run race with Manchester United’s Robin van Persie, however those hopes were tarnished by Suarez himself as he missed the last four games of the season as part of a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic in a late season clash with Chelsea.

Throughout the 2013 summer transfer window it looked increasingly likely that Suarez would not be a Liverpool player for much longer. With reported interest from Real Madrid and Premier League rivals Arsenal, and an apparent willingness on the player’s part to leave, it seemed that Liverpool fans would have to prepare for life without their talismanic forward.

Luis Suarez was involved in a race row and handshake bust-up with Patrice Evra © Sky Sports

Luis Suarez was involved in a race row and handshake bust-up with Patrice Evra © Sky Sports

However, the club and manager Brendan Rodgers stood firm and refused to sell their prize asset, hoping that gaining Champions League football would convince Suarez his future was at Anfield. As it happens, the Uruguayan agreed to stay and later signed a new long-term contract with the club in December 2013.

Despite being suspended for the first five league matches of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign, Suarez finished as the league’s top goal scorer with 31 goals, a figure that has previously only been matched by Cristiano Ronaldo and Alan Shearer during a 38-game season.

In what proved to be his final season at Liverpool, Suarez enjoyed what seemed like an almost telepathic understanding with strike partner Daniel Sturridge, with many dubbing the pair the Premier League’s “SAS”.

The partnership’s sensational form helped propel Liverpool back into the Champions League and took them to within two points of their first league title in 24 years, narrowly missing out to eventual champions Manchester City.

On a personal level, Suarez’ performance throughout the season saw him named both PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.

Liverpool will now be looking for ways to replace their star man as they prepare to compete on multiple fronts with Champions League football returning to Anfield for the first time in five years.

Manager Rodgers said: “Luis is a very special talent and I thank him for the role he has played in the team in the past two years, during my time at Liverpool.” 

About Jack Birch, JMU Journalism