Arsenal close to signing Suarez for £47.5M following latest outburst
The protracted transfer saga of Luis Suarez looks to finally be drawing to an end, with Arsenal close to finalizing a 47.5 million pound ($73.5 million) deal for the volatile frontman, according to reports in the British press.
As reported by Britain's The Daily Star, Arsenal had turned their attentions to Karim Benzema after being flustered in their attempts to land the Uruguayan, but Suarez's latest plea for Liverpool to sanction his sale has renewed the Gunners' hope of signing the player they have pursued for most of the summer window.
Suarez Wednesday gave an impassioned interview to both The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, disclosing the exact reasons behind his desire to depart Merseyside, with Champions League football the driving force.
"I want to move to play in the Champions League and there is a club offering me that opportunity,â€ he was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph. "I have told the manager that I want to leave the club.
"I am being accused of showing a lack of loyalty but last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we did not qualify for the Champions League the following season then I would be allowed to go.
"I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish. Now all I want is that Liverpool honor our agreement.â€
Suarez claims Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers gave him assurances last season that if the club failed to qualify for Europe's premier competition, then he would be allowed to leave.
"Liverpool is a club with a reputation for doing things the right way, I just want them to abide by the promises made last season,â€ he said.
"I have the club's word and we have the written contract and we are happy to take this to the Premier League for them to decide the case but I do not want it to come to that.â€
Arsenal have so far had two bids turned down for the former Ajax star, with their latest of 40 million and 1 pounds intended to trigger a clause in his contract which would allow the London club to enter talks with Suarez.
Liverpool have staunchly maintained their belief that they are under no obligation to sell the striker, as well as adding that Arsenal's bid for the player fell well short of their own valuation.
But following Suarez's latest assertions, the club have resigned themselves to losing the man they signed from Ajax for 22.8 million pounds in 2011.
Arsenal and the player's agent, Pere Guardiola, brother of Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola, engaged in face-to-face meetings over the weekend to thrash out personal terms for the striker's move to the Emirates, with the two parties settling on a reported five-year 150,000 pounds-a-week deal.
That would see Suarez pocket a further 30,000 pounds a week on what he makes with Liverpool, after signing a contract extension until 2018 last August with the Merseysiders.
And now the two clubs look set to agree on a compromise figure of 47.5 million pounds for the forward, who notched 51 goals and 24 assists in 96 appearances for Liverpool.
Despite Reds owners John W. Henry and Tom Werner previously holding out for a fee of 55 million pounds, the pair are now understood to be willing to settle for 47.5 million pounds, which would see them make a handsome profit of 24.7 million pounds on a player they bought two-and-a-half years ago.
Meanwhile, Manchester City are readying a bid for out-of-favor Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, according to the Sports Direct News.
New Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking to bring in the strong-tackling Slovakian as cover for Mateja Nastasic, who could miss up to six weeks of the season after suffering an ankle injury during the club's preseason tour.
Skrtel has been strongly linked with a 12 million pound move to Napoli to join former manager Rafael Benitez, but could be tempted to stay in the Premier League with the Etihad Stadium a possible destination.
Pellegrini has shelled out a whopping 90 million pounds on transfers so far this summer, though he has yet to invest in defensive recruitments, and Skrtel could prove a valuable asset to the 2011 English champions.
Having seen Kolo Toure join Liverpool last month, City remain rather depleted at the back, and the injury to Nastasic has forced Pellegrini to reassess his options.
Skrtel has been a mainstay in the Liverpool side in the six seasons since signing from Zenit, compiling over 200 appearances for the 18-time league champions. He has, however, only started two games for Rodgers since January, and appears surplus to requirements with the Northern Irishman ringing the changes to his current squad.