Liverpool news

Reds prepared should Suarez leave

July 15, 2013
By ESPN staff

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre told Bloomberg the club had targets in mind should Luis Suarez leave, but said Arsenal's bid had been rejected and he remained hopeful the Uruguayan will stay at Anfield.

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Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave the Reds during the current transfer window, citing Champions League football as key to his ambitions.

Both Arsenal and Real Madrid are believed to be interested in the Uruguayan, with reports emerging on Sunday that the Gunners had submitted a second offer, of £35 million, for him. Ayre confirmed that Arsenal had lodged a bid, but said he hoped Liverpool could persuade their star player to remain on Merseyside.

"We had an offer which is fairly public from Arsenal," Ayre said in quotes tweeted by journalist Tariq Panja. "We said no to that offer and, as far as we’re concerned, he turns up for training when he's due back and we'll move forward on that basis.

"I've heard him say it would great to have an opportunity to play for Arsenal and likewise Real Madrid, but he certainly hasn't called me up and said he wants to leave. We get offers for lots of our players at different times. Unless we get to a situation where that player absolutely doesn't want to be here and we don’t want him to be here, then that's a different kettle of fish.

"Right now we'd love to see Luis put on a Liverpool shirt for this season and beyond, and we hope that, once he gets back, things will settle down.”

If Suarez does leave, however, Ayre is adamant the club will be able to move quickly to find his replacement.

“This is an ambitious young player,” he said. “He’s talked in the media about wanting to play in the Champions League and all these things. It’s our job to convince Luis that this is the right place to achieve those things.

“In every position on the pitch, we have a fairly good idea of who are the best players available at what price in the event one of our players leaves - but that doesn’t mean we’re painting a negative scenario. It just means you’re planning well, which is what people expect.”

Ayre said he believed the club’s transfer activity, including the arrivals of players such as Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas, showed Liverpool could still attract top players who are confident the club is heading in the right direction.

He said he hoped the new additions would convince Suarez that the club has the quality to challenge at the top end of the Premier League.

Ayre also expects manager Brendan Rodgers to make more signings before the new season starts, especially after missing out on new Borussia Dortmund arrival Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whom Ayre said the Reds had been "absolutely interested" in signing.

“We’ve brought in great players who recognise we’re not in the Champions League but see the size of this club, see the size of the opportunity and what we’re trying to build and want to be part of it.

“We’ve got other people in our sights and we’ll keep plugging away, but we’ll do some more business, there’s no doubt about that.”

If Suarez does stay, Ayre does not expect the former Ajax forward to receive a negative reception from Reds fans after he completes the remainder of his ongoing ten-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic - despite his public declarations and flirtation with other clubs.

“I don’t think anyone will be against him at this point,” he added. “He only needs to do what he did last season and everyone will feel he’s in the right place and he should carry on getting the support that he deserves and gets from Liverpool.”