By any measure, Luis Suarez is one of the top five attackers in all of football, and he's coming off the best season of his career. He's also coming off biting a player for the third time in his career. Any thoughts this might dissuade Barcelona from pushing for his signature, though, didn't last long, with the Catalan club signalling he remained new manager Luis Enrique's top target.
However, there were reports Suarez would have to apologise for his latest moment of madness before any deal went ahead. He did that yesterday, heading to Twitter to make a statement that didn't once mention the impact of his actions on his current club and that Liverpool claimed they had no knowledge of until he made it. It seems, though, to have made Barcelona happy.
"Suarez has been humble enough to admit an error, which is very important," Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta told reporters. "He has been humble enough to apologise to those he has affected, because it happened in the middle of a festival of football. In this case it's the best thing a person can do."
With that, any doubt that Suarez' apology was anything but a cynical ploy to satisfy Barcelona's demands disappears. Any doubts Barcelona's interest in Suarez might not have been maintained following his biting of Giorgio Chiellini disappears. The new contract he signed gives Liverpool a strong negotiating position, but Suarez' desire is clear—as is Barcelona's.
"Regardless of whether the club signs him or not, his quality is unquestionable," said Ivan Rakitic, doing his part to aid in tapping up the man Barcelona hope will be their next big signing at his own unveiling today. "He has shown a lot of quality with Uruguay and scored more than 30 goals with Liverpool, so he has the necessary quality to play for Barca."
Meanwhile, Spanish football expert Graham Hunter has told the BBC's 5Live that Barcelona will push Alexis Sanchez towards Liverpool as part of their move for Suarez. He believes the Catalans will open with an offer of the Chilean plus around €20M in the full knowledge they will need to raise the cash portion of the bid considerably to get a deal done.
For their part, Liverpool continue to signal they are willing play hardball when it comes to any Suarez deal and that Barcelona will have to either pay the striker's £80M+ buyout in full up front or propose a cash and player deal they see as equal to that amount.