As a football team manager, you have to be able to cover all the angles and make all the right noises. At the start of every season we are reliably informed that Arsene Wenger is “not scared of spending money” according to Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis. David Moyes has also jumped on the bandwagon by revealing that Manchester United have transfer funds available to sign the “best players” around this summer.
Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers is also aware of this problem, particularly given recent press around star striker, Luis Suarez. The Liverpool manager commented the other day that:
Luis is a very important member of this squad and I am looking forward to working with him again this season after he had such a fantastic season. There has been lots of speculation about Luis moving to another club but, as I said, he is very much a Liverpool player.
However, Brendan Rodgers made sure that he caveated his comment above by saying:
But unless something drastic happens, he will be staying here. He has got three years left on his contract.
From his first comment, Rodgers has made it clear that he wants Suarez to stay and he’s hoping that by mentioning it in a public forum it will indicate to Suarez that he publicly backs him.
Liverpool finished an underwhelming 7th position in the Premier League table at the end of the 2012/13 season which presented them with a significant problem. The team faces the prospect of a season with no European football as they obviously failed to qualify for the Champions League and also failed to qualify for the second-tier Europa League.
As Liverpool are not competing in Europe, rumours have been swirling that Luis Suarez is looking to jump ship.
Understandable given that Suarez was arguably Liverpool’s standout player during the 2012/13 season and not only provided goals, but weighed in with assists and an admirable work ethic. This has led to a level of interest in the Uruguayan’s services at other football clubs.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, Suarez was also a bit of a PR nightmare for the club and was banned for 10 leagues games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during a fixture at Anfield.
Rodgers is all too aware that words uttered in public have a way of coming back to haunt you and hence his careful wording around “something drastic” which could alternatively be phrased as “If someone was to offer us a wheelbarrow-load of cash for Luis Suarez we couldn’t possibly say no to that”.
Ultimately, no player is bigger than the club. As much as Suarez is a fantastic football talent (with some serious personal issues), Liverpool know that if the right offer is received they would have no option but to say adios to the Uruguayan.
Should Suarez depart before the new season starts, you can expect Rodgers to emphasise that Liverpool does not need to rely on one player and how he will be able to add reinforcements to the squad. Should Suarez stay, then expect Rodgers to state how they always wanted Suarez to stay and how valued he is as a Liverpool player.