Suarez to stay at Reds, says Rodgers
But Arsenal are still keen on signing the temperamental Uruguayan striker
BRENDAN RODGERS has warned Luis Suarez he will be making a big mistake if he turns his back on Liverpool for Arsenal this off-season.
Little has changed from Liverpool’s point of view with regards to Suarez: they do not want to sell him, have not received a written transfer request from him and no club have come close to matching their valuation of the Uruguay striker.
Privately, though, there is recognition that his future at the club is in the balance. Arsenal have aggressively pursued the 26 year old, while Real Madrid remain major players, despite their interest in Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.
If the attraction of Madrid is understandable, Rodgers is puzzled as to what Suarez sees on offer for him at Arsenal that is better than at Anfield and has told him to give deep consideration to his next move.
Liverpool manager Rodgers said: “I know what we are trying to build, so why would you swop Liverpool to go to Arsenal – I am not sure that it adds up, to be honest. Arsenal have a wonderful history in their own right but Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“We are not in the Champions League and haven’t been for a while and we have to step up to the challenge now.”
Rodgers, who wants resolution to this saga “sooner rather than later”, is in no mood to give up the fight and has the full support of Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, in how he deals with it.
Liverpool are under no pressure to sell – Suarez has three years left on his contract – and Rodgers has told his No 7 that life might not be as good for him as it is on Merseyside, where he plays in a team that is set up around him.
When asked if he felt Suarez would be making an error to leave, Rodgers replied: “One hundred percent. To be given a team built around you ... I made some big calls to make it work to suit his strengths.
“It is no coincidence he had a great season apart from the end bit. We would love to have him to continue the next phase. It is difficult for Luis, I understand that. If a team wants you, it can be difficult. But I am not sure many teams will have done what we have done in the last couple of games (playing in front of massive crowds in Indonesia and Australia). I am sure Luis will have seen the sheer size and status of the club, so we’ll just see how it goes. It is not something we want to run on too long.”
Liverpool held talks with Suarez while they were in Melbourne and will continue to do so in Bangkok, where they arrived on Thursday for the final leg of their tour. Suarez has not been given permission to leave the group and talk to any interested clubs.
Rodgers conceded, however, that an official request to leave from Suarez, which would mean him suffering financially, would change the picture.
“He is under contract but I haven’t even thought about him putting a request in writing,” Rodgers said. “It’s like anything: unless a player tells you he really wants to go, only then do you have to look at it.
“But it is a situation we are in control of. Unless something changes or there is an offer which is heavily increased, he is still very much a Liverpool player.
“The owners have been brilliant throughout this process. The board and club has stayed very strong, it is very simple. We don’t want to sell one of our best players.”
Defender Glen Johnson, one of Suarez’s main friends in the squad, backed up the view of his manager and stressed that the decision to leave Liverpool is not one that a player should take lightly.
“He loves his football and he always wants to play,” said the England right back. “No matter what team you play for, it is always important to keep your best players. The members of staff, the players – we are all the same. We want to keep him here.
“We are building under Brendan. With the owners we have got now, you can see the foundations are there and everything is going the right way. If we can keep the players we have got here, then everything looks promising.”
Arsenal are hoping to push a deal through as quickly as possible, capitalising on the fact that, as it stands, they are the only club in the running for Suarez. But the complexity of the player’s £40 million (R596m) clause is delaying progress.
Arsenal remain in talks with Liverpool after seeing their offer for Suarez, worth £40m plus £1, rejected.
Sportsmail understands that Suarez reiterated his desire to speak to Arsenal during talks with Rodgers. The Gunners are reluctant to significantly increase their offer, but remain determined to land their No 1 target. – Daily Mail
STAY OR GO? Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers (left) looks on as Luis Suarez of Liverpool is substituted in the match between the Melbourne Victory and Liverpool this week. Rodgers insists the striker will remain at the club this season.