The good, bad and ugly of Arsenal's Suarez pursuit

Posted by Andrew Mangan

Why Luis Suarez would be a good signing for Arsenal

He's a top-quality player who would add goals and that something special to Arsenal's forward line. Since the departures of Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, the Gunners have lacked a player who can score, or create something, from "nothing."

In purely footballing terms there's no doubt he'd make Arsenal a better team.

Why Arsenal's pursuit of Suarez is strange

Having acknowledged his talent, it's now time to turn attention to his character. Some people can overlook this completely, suggesting morals have no place in football. But when a player's behaviour impacts so greatly on their ability to play for their team, it's foolish to ignore it.

Suarez's disciplinary problems are well-documented. Eight matches for racially abusing Patrice Evra. One match for making an obscene gesture at Fulham fans. Ten games (six of which will be served into the new season) for biting Branislav Ivanovic. And of course he arrived at Liverpool on the back of another biting incident at Ajax which earned him a seven-game ban.

Considering everything that's happened, and his relationship with the English football authorities, any further indiscretions are likely to be severely punished. The potential for another lengthy ban is obvious.

For a club like Arsenal, whose transfer record is around £15 million, to go beyond £40 million for a player with this track record is a serious deviation from the norm. Liverpool have rejected the £40 million offer too. Will it take £45 million? £50 million? More?

I wrote here last week about why I thought Gonzalo Higuain was a better choice for Arsenal, and I stand by that. It's personal opinion as to whether you think Suarez is a better player, but is he £20 million plus all that baggage better? That's a very hard case to make.

Why Arsenal's pursuit of Suarez is risky

Having seemingly thrown all their eggs in the Uruguayan basket, it looks as if Higuain is going to Napoli. Wayne Rooney, another rumoured target, looks more likely to move to Chelsea than North London, if he moves at all.

Liverpool's owner John W. Henry, via Twitter, seems amused by Arsenal's bid, and regardless of how you view the professionalism of such a tweet, it hardly augurs well for their pursuit of the player.

Suarez has gone on record with his desire to leave England because of the hard time he gets from the press (conveniently ignoring the fact that many of them were lauding him as player of the year last season and that if he'd just not behaved like an idiot they wouldn't be paying that much attention to him beyond his football). Whether he realises it or not, the press he claims to hate so much exist in London too.

Then there's the scary domino effect. What if, having sold Higuain to Napoli, Real Madrid decide to go for Suarez? I don't think there's any hope for Arsenal if they get involved. He gets a move to a massive club, gets away from the press, has a "change of environment," and Arsenal are left with what, exactly?

Who else is out there? Where is the world-class striker they can bring in, having seen all their major targets go elsewhere? And is the Suarez stuff tying up the other moves that are hugely necessary this summer?

Clearly Arsenal must have had some indication from the Suarez camp that a transfer to the Gunners is something he'd consider, but in the grand scheme of things, it seems a big gamble to take when there are safer options that provide almost the same quality on the pitch, and with far less hassle.


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