Even in a World Cup year, it wouldn’t be the summer if there wasn’t talk of crazy transfers in European football. This year, the big prize is Luis Suarez, who is slated to make a big-money move from Barclays Premier League runners-up Liverpool to La Liga runners-up Barcelona.
Barcelona’s participation in a major summer move is no surprise. Just last summer, Barca brought in Brazilian superstar Neymar in a 57 million Euro move, two years prior to that, they acquired Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez for a combined 60 million Euros. Barcelona is no strangers to splashing the cash, although the club is in massive debt, annual runs to the late stages of the Champions League have helped Barcelona to thrive in today’s game.
Barca’s infatuation with Suarez comes as no surprise to anyone. Suarez netted nearly a goal per game (31 goals in 33 league games) for Liverpool in 2013-14, sending the club back to the Champions League and nearly propelling the Reds to the Barclays Premier League title. Only a heartbreaking three-goal collapse at Crystal Palace kept Suarez from claiming championship gold, and the team is more poised than ever to go for the title.
The problem is, the time for Liverpool to cash in on Suarez is now. Suarez has two years left on his Liverpool contract. If he were to enter his final year without extending his deal, the club wouldn’t make nearly as much in a potential transfer. Additionally, Liverpool has options that they can use to, if not replace Suarez, come as close as possible to replicating the Uruguayan’s production. Daniel Sturridge, Suarez’s strike partner in Liverpool, seems poised to become the premier scoring forward in the Premier League. Liverpool also has Raheem Sterling, who was nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year, ready to step up and play a more prominent role.
There’s also the pesky matter of controlling the loose cannon that is Luis Suarez. Suarez has missed time due to suspension in each of his seasons at Liverpool, a trend that will continue if he does stay at Anfield. That’s because of his infamous bite at the World Cup.
Since Liverpool is a club that cares about its global presence — Liverpool is owned by an American and has a sponsor that derives most of its revenue from India and Asia — the club wants to wash its hands of a potentially negative situation sooner rather than later.
One potential hang-up is the financial agreement between Liverpool and Barcelona. The two clubs agreed to a fee of 75 million pounds — which represents a profit of more than 50 million pounds for Liverpool — but Liverpool wants the money paid up front while Barcelona wants to pay in instalments, as is common in many modern-day transfers. The up-front cash is necessary for Liverpool to bring in new players for the upcoming campaign, but at this point any portion of that fee should be beneficial for the Reds. That’s especially true, considering that Suarez faces a four-month suspension as a result of his bite. Wherever Suarez plays this season, he won’t be able to join his new club in an official game until the end of October.