Barcelona & Liverpool confirm Luis Suarez transfer
Liverpool have confirmed they have reached agreement with Barcelona for the transfer of striker Luis Suarez.
The Spanish giants have long been linked with the Uruguayan forward and confirmation of the move came on Friday, with Barca saying in a statement on their official website that he will be in Catalonia next week to put pen to paper on a five-year deal and complete his medical.
The Premier League club added: "Liverpool FC confirms that Luis Suarez will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona. The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities, which will then conclude the transfer.
"We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield.
"Everyone at Liverpool Football Club wishes Luis and his family well for the future."
The transfer comes a year after the Uruguay striker tried to force through a move to Arsenal, only for Liverpool to stand firm and refuse to sanction a deal and the forward later signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract at Anfield.
Real Madrid had been continually linked with a move, but Barcelona gradually entered the picture and have stepped up their interest in recent weeks.
With Suarez leaving the World Cup early after being banned from football for four months and nine international matches by Fifa for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, talks with Barca over a transfer accelerated.
Various Barca representatives, including sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and new signing Ivan Rakitic, praised Suarez for apologising for his latest bite, while talks behind the scenes progressed.
Suarez will be unable to train with his new team-mates under the terms of his Fifa ban, which was upheld by world football's governing body on Thursday, although Uruguay are expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should Uruguay's CAS appeal fail, Suarez will only be free to return to action for Barcelona in October. The Primera Division are yet to announce the fixtures for the 2014-15 season, though it is scheduled to start on August 23.
Suarez was due to miss up to 14 Liverpool matches if he had stayed at Anfield, and he will be forced to sit out a similar number for his new club, including their opening Champions League fixtures.
The 27-year-old is banned from all football-realted activities, which includes attending charity events with his team-mates, promotional campaigns, handing out trophies at grassroots events and being involved in his club's team photograph.
Suarez’s time in England was plagued by controversy. Having been signed from Ajax in January 2011 in the midst of a ban for biting Otman Bakkal, he was later suspended for eight matches after being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in his first full season at Anfield.
At the end of the following campaign he was banned for 10 games for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, but returned in 2013-14 to propel the Reds in their first serious title challenge since 2008-09 with 31 goals in 33 Premier League appearances.