Liverpool striker Luis Suárez could be handed a move to Barcelona with Alexis Sánchez heading in the opposite direction. Uruguayan Suárez’s future has been at the center of constant speculation since he was handed a four-month ban for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup clash last week. It is third time he has been found guilty of doing the same act. He previously bit a player when playing for former side Ajax in the Netherlands and again when representing current side Liverpool in the Premier League.
Although Liverpool did not want to see their star player leave, it could be as good a time as anyway with Barcelona said to be keen to do a swap deal. Sánchez, who scored two goals for Chile before his side lost to Brazil on penalties, is thought to be keen on staying at the Camp Nou, but would consider a move to the Premier League if it was to guarantee him first team football.
Barça have reportedly slapped a $54 million valuation on the player they signed from Udinese in 2011. Furthermore, his performances for Chile in the World Cup only enhanced his value with Barça not particularly desperate to sell. Manchester United and Arsenal have also been linked with a move for the player and so the Catalan giants are preparing themselves for a Premier League bidding war. United boss Louis van Gaal is in the process of rebuilding at Old Trafford while Gunners boss Arsène Wenger has yet to sign a player in the summer transfer window.
However, Liverpool isin the driving seat and would benefit from a player plus cash deal as Suárez is valued at considerably more than his fellow South American. It is understood Liverpool could command around $51 million in cash along with the new player. The one obvious stumbling block for any club interested in signing Suárez is the fact he is banned from all footballing activity for four months.
Meanwhile, the deal has offered Suárez the chance to stay match fit with a $205,000-a-week deal to play for Kosovo Superleague outfit Hajvalia. The fact Kosovo is yet to become a full member of FIFA means the league is not bound by the governing body’s regulations. Sources at Liverpool have claimed that it is unlikely the Premier League club would sanction such a deal for fear he may pick up a long-term injury. Neither Liverpool or Suárez’s representatives have commented on the report.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have also been long-term admirers of the player, but Suárez’s reported $111 million release clause has put them off making a formal offer. The brother of Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, Pere, is Suárez’s agent. However, there has been no indication the Uruguayan is heading to the Bundesliga champions.
If Liverpool does agree to a swap deal for Suárez and Sánchez, it would mark the departure of arguably the club’s best player in recent history. It would also mark the exit of their most controversial player. Neither Liverpool nor Barcelona would comment when contacted by Guardian Liberty Voice.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd