Liverpool Football Club have rejected a fresh offer from Arsenal of £40million plus £1 for striker Luis Suarez.
The bid, which Arsenal believe triggers a release clause in the Uruguayan’s contract, prompted Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry to say on Twitter: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”
Suarez made his first club appearance since being banned for ten games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April, and set up Liverpool’s second goal in their 2-0 pre-season win over Melbourne Victory in front of 95,000 fans at the MCG.
He is understood to want to hold talks with Premier League rivals Arsenal over a potential move, despite saying his reasons for wanting to leave Anfield included his treatment at the hands of the English media and Football Association.
Suarez believes the latest bid allows him to speak to the club, given the offer is over £40m and an improvement on an earlier £35m approach by Arsenal, but Liverpool interpret the clause in the 26-year-old’s contract differently, saying they only need to notify the club’s top scorer of bids for him over that higher amount. It is understood that the Reds will only consider a bid in excess of £50m along with a formal transfer request by the player – who has repeatedly expressed his desire to leave, with Real Madrid also said to be interested.
If Suarez were to leave, he’d follow Pepe Reina on the way out, as he is expected to complete a season-long loan move to Italian side Napoli. The move would reunite the Spanish goalkeeper with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, who brought Reina to Anfield eight years ago for £6m.
Manager Brendan Rodgers cited the recent acquisition of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland, saying that he couldn’t justify having a substitute goalkeeper on the wages that Reina commands.
Speaking on Liverpool’s tour of Indonesia, Australia and Thailand, the Liverpool boss said: “Last year I had to make decisions in pre-season for the financial stability of the club and that’s something I’ve obviously had to do this year as well. Financially, it is something we needed to look at.
“It reared its head over the last few months and I had to prepare for it by bringing in another goalkeeper anyway.”
Rodgers has also said he would like to bring in more players before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
Liverpool’s preparations for the upcoming campaign have seen victories away at Preston (4-0), an Indonesia XI (2-0) in Jakarta and over Melbourne Victory today.
Further friendlies against Thailand, Norwegian side Valarenga and Celtic are to follow with Steven Gerrard’s testimonial against Olympiacos at Anfield on 3rd August before Liverpool kick off the Premier League season at home to Stoke City on 17th August.