Yesterday, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta praised Luis Suarez' humble nature after the striker made his belated public apology for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. Newest signing Ivan Rakitic was full of similar praise for the Uruguayan striker at his own unveiling as Barca's newest signing.
Today, their public wooing of Suarez continued, with president Josep-Mari Bartomeu sharing his thoughts on the man who seems likely to start next season at the Nou Camp. At least assuming Barcelona can scrounge up the enough to satisfy John Henry, Brendan Rodgers, and the Liverpool transfer committee—who proved last summer they wouldn't be pushed around when it came to Suarez.
"Suarez is a Liverpool player and so I can say little about him," Bartomeu began rather disingenuously before going on to say a few things about him. "He plays for a rival team, but what I can say, as a football person, is that apologising has been to his credit because when you make a mistake you should apologise. It is good what he has done. It helps football."
It may be especially helpful for Suarez' pending appeal, which the Uruguayan FA plan to lead in the coming days in the hopes his nine-match international suspension and four-month blanket ban from all football-related activities can be reduced. Wherever Suarez ends up, given the far-reaching nature of FIFA's punishment, a reduction does seem fairly likely.
Just how much it will be reduced and where Suarez will play when he comes back from it remain open questions. Barcelona clearly want Suarez and have made no secret of it, but while Liverpool are willing to sell, the club have made it clear through briefings to friendly journalists that they are only interested in making a deal if they get Alexis Sanchez along with a substantial fee in return for him.
If Barcelona are either unable or unwilling to do a deal on those terms, the suggestion is that they would have to trigger Saurez' release clause—which Liverpool have intimated is in line with the fee Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale last summer and would have to be paid in full up front. Or: Barcelona can talk all they want, but in this deal, Liverpool hold all the cards.
"It is the responsibility of all of us that Luis Suarez, at Liverpool or wherever he wants to be, continues his career," added Bartomeu while Liverpool fans mostly rolled their eyes and waited for him to open up his cheque book. "To admit his errors is an important step."