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Barcelona Open With £55.7M and No Alexis Sanchez Offer

Barcelona opened negotiations for Luis Suarez with a £55.7M offer, but the main takeaway for Liverpool fans is disappointing news that Alexis' role in any deal now appears in doubt.

Laurence Griffiths

With talks over Luis Suarez beginning in London today, sources in England and Spain have described discussions as amicable and promising, though the two sides remain some ways off on their valuation of the player. However, there remains the possibility of a fairly rapid conclusion, and further talks are expected to take place between the two sides before the end of the week.

Spanish sources reported an opening offer of €70M—or £55.7M—from Barcelona, while sources with ties to Liverpool including the Echo suggested Liverpool had entered discussions asking for £45M and Alexis Sanchez, who they value at £30M. In news that will be disappointing to many Liverpool fans, it is not believed that the inclusion of Sanchez is a deal breaker for Liverpool.

However, it remains unclear if the club would be willing to do the Suarez deal at £75M—the combined value of cash and player they entered negotiations looking for—if Sanchez isn't involved, of if without his involvement they would seek a base fee to match Suarez' £80M release clause.

Meanwhile, reports in Spain have suggested Sanchez is weighing up his options with offers from Arsenal, Juventus, and Liverpool on the table. The belief is that while Sanchez prefers Arsenal as a destination, he isn't set on a London move, and Liverpool's willingness to value him at £30M when Arsenal are believed to have offered between £20-22M means he could still play a role in any deal.

For many Liverpool fans, any deal that doesn't include a high quality player coming in the other direction would be seen as a failure given Liverpool appear to hold all the cards in this negotiation. A significant financial windfall for Suarez might be nice, but having to then go and negotiate with clubs who know Liverpool are flush with cash could prove difficult.

A player such as Sanchez arriving as part of the deal on the other hand guarantees a replacement for Suarez will have been signed before the start of pre-season, avoiding the risk of Liverpool being held to ransom over the fee for his replacement and potentially undermining Liverpool's chance of building off the gains of last season.

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