Misunderstanding Suarez...

Posted by Dave Usher

So he does love the fans after all, and what's more is that he's happy to stay at Anfield and even wants to sign a new contract. All's well that ends well as they say. Presumably we can just chalk this summer up to one big misunderstanding then, eh?

Honestly, I sometimes wonder if Luis Suarez can actually hear himself when he speaks. The latest reports coming out of Uruguay almost beggar belief. Respected journalist Martin Charquero reported that "Luis Suarez has confirmed to me that he will not be leaving Liverpool. The support of the fans in the last few weeks has influenced his decision. Suarez sees it as probable that he will renew his contract with Liverpool."

- Suarez: I will stay at Liverpool

So there you have it, it was the support of the fans that influenced his decision. Nothing to do with discovering that his agent had dropped the ball when trying to insert an escape clause into his contract. Nothing to do with John W. Henry putting him over his proverbial knee and spanking him like the naughty child he is. And certainly nothing to do with Europe's elite clubs shunning him in favour of other, less volatile, transfer targets. No, it was his "affection" for the fans that forced this decision. And call me a cynic, but this new contract wouldn't happen to involve a handsome pay raise and a watertight release clause, would it?

Still, this somewhat unexpected turn in events is not a bad thing, unless you happen to be Arsene Wenger, of course. Perhaps now Arsenal will finally accept that no means no. Remove all the spin and false sentimentality from this latest development and what you are left with is a more than acceptable outcome for the club and not a bad one for the player, either. His foot stamping didn't get him what he wanted, but another year at Anfield with a new, improved contract is more to his liking.

Whether the new contract materialises remains to be seen, but Suarez staying with Liverpool is a victory for the club. A somewhat hollow victory perhaps, as forcing a player to stay who doesn't really want to be there is a far from an ideal scenario, but this was the best result Liverpool could have hoped for given the circumstances.

"One more year" was always the plea from club, manager, players and supporters. It would have been better had Suarez agreed to it of his own free will, but still, Liverpool will take it. A win is a win; you get the same number of points for a flukey 1-0 as you do for a 6-0 rout, and this would be a win for Liverpool, albeit a scruffy one.

Given Liverpool's position, it is simply imperative that they did not lose their best player, particularly to a Premier League rival and so late in the transfer window -- there would have been virtually no chance of bringing in a comparable replacement. Brendan Rodgers is finding it difficult enough to spend the money he has available, what use would another £50 million be to him if he couldn't get anyone of the required quality.

Forcing Suarez to stay was the easy part, getting him motivated to play and reproduce the magic he showed last season is the challenge facing the club now. Perhaps the security of a new contract with an escape clause that suits both club and player will help to make that happen. There would be no ambiguity there; Suarez would know that if he performed well enough to convince suitors to meet his buyout clause, then there would be nothing to prevent him from moving on next summer.

For their part, Liverpool will have another year of Suarez to hopefully help fire them back into the top four, while also having more time to line up potential replacements. In addition, the clause would presumably be for a fee higher than £40 million and would include a "no selling to rivals" exemption.

If all this plays out in the way Suarez is now suggesting, no one is a loser. Except perhaps Arsenal and Pere Guardiola.

Luis Suarez and Liverpool are little more than a marriage of convenience. The love affair is over. In truth, it was probably one-sided anyway.

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