Liverpool Confident of Holding on to Suarez

Julian Finney

Despite rumours in Spain talking up a Barcelona or Real Madrid move, Liverpool have had no contact from either club concerning Luis Suarez and believe they could hold on to him even if bids did come in.

With unnamed sources and third-hand reports leading Catalan paper Sport to risk its less than stellar reputation suggesting Luis Suarez is totally going to push for a Barcelona move while Mundo Deportivo talks up a €65M deal as being nearly done, it only seems fair for Liverpool's own unnamed sources to reply in kind. Following a slew of rumours out of Spain linking Suarez with a move to Barcelona, Liverpool appear to be briefing friendly journalists at the Liverpool Echo and elsewhere about his situation. And they don't appear to be in the least bit worried by what they're hearing.

While the club believe a bid for Suarez may arrive at some point over the summer, there has as yet been no contact from either Barcelona or Real Madrid for the striker and his name didn't come up when they contacted Barcelona to declare their interest in Alexis Sanchez. After signing Suarez to a new deal over the winter and based on talks between him and Brendan Rodgers following the season, they further believe that even if bids do come they will be able to hold on to a player who indicated his desire to remain at the club next season before he headed off to join Uruguay at the World Cup.

However, while reports of a £70M release clause and any knock-down sale price for a side in Spain are wide of the mark—the first half of such a clause was believed to have been in Suarez' contract to cover for if Liverpool didn't qualify for the Champions League—the club have admitted that there is a clause. However, while the specifics of any such clause remain confidential, the club insist it would take far more than the £65-70M that has so far been bandied about in Spain to trigger it. There may be little certainty in the transfer market, but for now at least, Liverpool are signalling that fans shouldn't worry.

Elsewhere, there is reason to believe suggestions by Mundo Deportivo that Barcelona would consider a €30M and Alexis Sanchez deal for Suarez may amount to nothing more than the Catalans attempting to set Sanchez' value. In addition to Liverpool's interest in the player, there are reports that Sanchez is pushing for a Juventus move and that Juventus are willing to pay €25M for him. If Barcelona are leaking the Sanchez and cash for Suarez story, it sets their asking price for the Chilean attacker at around €35M without quite coming out and saying he's for sale as they did in the case of Cesc Fabregas.

Barcelona suddenly find themselves with a massive rebuilding job on their hands. Xavi is leaving and Fabregas, despite hopes when they bought him, wasn't seen as a suitable replacement. They've already brought in Ivan Rakitic but are also believed to be chasing Atletico Madrid's Koke, while Lionel Messi is believed to be desperate to have Argentinean teammate Gonzalo Higuain join him and Neymar in the Barcelona attack. Add in the need to overhaul the back line following Carlos Puyol's retirement and even Barcelona's pockets aren't deep enough to fund all the deals without sales.

They certainly don't appear positioned to set a new world record transfer fee by triggering Suarez' release clause, and given Liverpool are positioned to be able to laugh off an offer of €30M plus Sanchez, it might be time for even the most excitable Liverpool fans to stop worrying overmuch. There has been no contact from Barcelona or Madrid, any talk of triggering his release for £70M or less is misguided, Suarez has made no suggestion he will push for a move, and rumours tying him to Barcelona appear as likely as not to be rooted in that club's attempts to set Alexis Sanchez' sale price.

Liverpool's owners proved their mettle last summer when, mired in seventh and with the striker pushing for a way out, they held on to him in the face of immense pressure. The future may never be certain in the transfer market, but at the very least Liverpool fans should feel confident that this is not a club that is going to be taken advantage of if one of the big Spanish clubs do eventually come calling for Luis Suarez.

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