It's another international friendly week, and thus it's time for your favourite game and mine: LOST IN TRANSLATION, starring Luis Suarez! The loquacious Uruguayan is in Japan, enjoying his favourite past time of speaking with the Uruguayan press and telling them secrets he never wants to talk to anyone in England about. This time, though, he's got a twist ending!
Martin Charquero, harbinger of many future alcohol-induced blackouts no doubt, posted about the subject on his own Twitter account for those whose Spanish has evolved past the Sesame Street level:
ATENCIÓN. Luis Suárez me confirma que no se ira de Liverpool. El apoyo de los hinchas en las últimas semanas influyeron en la decision.— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) August 13, 2013
Luis Suárez ve como probable una renovación (extension) del contrato que lo une a Liverpool.— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) August 13, 2013
The question was posed earlier this week as to who, if anyone, in the squad might be inclined to read a site like The Liverpool Offside, and I think we can absolutely assume it isn't Luis Suarez if his sudden change of heart was due to the fan support he saw over the last few weeks. Like many of Suarez's other "reasons" for doing the things that he does, the motivation for his change of heart seems moderately suspect. All of that fan support was present long before he gave his ill-advised interview to The Guardian, but maybe it was the sound of "You'll Never Walk Alone" across the Irish Sea that finally did him in. We'll never know.
What's more interesting is Charquero's second tweet revolving around the potential for Suarez to sign a new contract with the club. Prior to Suarez joining up with the club in Australia, there had been a seemingly ludicrous rumour about how the striker was going to extend his contract with a new clause in it stating that if Liverpool did not make Champions League for the following season, he was allowed to leave for a Champions League bound team. Nothing ever came of this rumour until suddenly Suarez himself presented a similar story of an existing clause to The Guardian, one that culminated in broken promises and tear-stained pillows.
Suarez extended his contract just last year, and the only reason to extended it again so soon would be to insert the clause that Suarez claims to have already been promised verbally, if not contractually, by the club. The club has been absolutely unequivocal about refusing to sell Suarez, and there's little incentive on their end to allow a prized asset to renegotiate his contract in a way that gives him a way out and them little power next season. There's a disconnect somewhere, but the convoluted nature of this entire story renders any attempt to find the source of that disconnect pretty futile.
The cynical answer is that Suarez's decision to stay is largely due to lack of interest from anyone else. It's become very clear that aside from Arsenal, Suarez hasn't had any vocal suitors vying for his affections. His much admired Real Madrid are actively pursuing Gareth Bale for ridiculous sums, and nary a peep has been heard from the other big guns like Bayern Munich, who could afford to sign him but have very little reason to do so.
The less cynical answer is that maybe, just maybe, the fans did have a hand in it, at least just a little. I was fortunate enough to attend Steven Gerrard's testimonial and, in my admittedly limited number of experiences at Anfield, I've never heard the crowd cheer as fervently as they did that day for Suarez. I won't assume it matched the volume one might experience at a much revered proper European night, but the sound was deafening. More than it being about cheering for Suarez, I do truly believe that the entirety of Anfield tried to show Suarez just what he'd be missing if he chose to move elsewhere for the promise of group stage Champions League football.
I like to think that played a tiny part in his decision, even if that's silly, even if it's too optimistic, and even if this story shifts again tomorrow and makes a fool out of me and my one small attempt to throw Suarez a bone.