Suarez to stay at Reds, says Rodgers

But Arse­nal are still keen on sign­ing the tem­per­a­men­tal Uruguayan striker

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

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.

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