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Alexis Returns to Barcelona, Tentative Suarez Deal in Place

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Luis Suarez' transfer to Barcelona isn't done just yet, but it isn't far off, and Alexis Sanchez' return to Barcelona to decide his future could play a role.

Alexandre Loureiro

Despite earlier reports in the Catalan press, Liverpool have not agreed a deal to sell Luis Suarez to Barcelona for between €75-80M, a fee that converted to pounds falls well short of his buyout clause. There is, however, a growing consensus amongst those with ties to the club that they have agreed a deal in principle to send the striker to Spain for a fee at or near his buyout.

With the exact details of his buyout clause not public knowledge, the fee Barcelona have agreed to pay to Liverpool for the controversial striker remains unknown, but widespread reports in the Liverpool-briefed media in recent days have set it at around £80M. At current exchange rates, that puts it just north of €100M and in line with the fee Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale last summer.

Just how much of that fee Barcelona would pay, though, could depend on Alexis Sanchez, who tonight arrived back in Barcelona early from his post-World Cup vacation and is expected to decide his future shortly. With earlier suggestions that the Suarez deal would go ahead with or without Sanchez' involvement, many Liverpool fans will see this as a positive sign.

Were Sanchez set on moving to Arsenal or remaining at Barcelona, there would be little reason for him to return to Barcelona early and with the Saurez deal nearing completion. However, if the Chilean attacker is open to a Liverpool move, it could impact the payment structure in the Suarez deal and so make sense of his early return.

To that end, there have been rumours—as yet unverified by any reliable source—that a deal including Sanchez could be done with the player and around €60M in cash headed in Liverpool's direction. When converted to Pounds, that aligns closely with earlier reports that Liverpool asked Barcelona for £45M and Sanchez when the two sides first met on Wednesday.

Whatever happens with Sanchez, though, it appears all but certain Suarez' time as a Liverpool player is nearly over. He won't be leaving for the €75M fee reported earlier today by the Catalan media, but he will be leaving. The only question is if it's a straight cash deal valued at a fee similar to his buyout or if Sanchez will be involved.