Back in the summer, Arsenal were the subject of ridicule following the infamous £40m + £1 offer made for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Arsenal were clearly under the impression that any bid exceeding the £40m mark would be enough to trigger a release clause in Suarez’s contract, and set the transfer wheels in motion.
At the time, the only action taken by Liverpool was to inform Suarez of the bid, rather than it being an obligation to accept and allow the player to negotiate a deal with the Gunners.
Looking back, it’s difficult to find any definitive statement from the club at the time of the bid denying the existence of a £40m buyout clause. There is plenty concerning the club’s valuation of the player not being met and their desire not to sell, but nowhere can I find a concrete denial of the clause.
“If Arsenal want the player they have to produce the value for the player. There was an offer a few weeks ago of £35m and two weeks later it is now £40m and £1.”
“I don’t think it is anywhere near the value of what he is worth. It is two-fold really. A player may want to go, but then somebody has to pay the value or worth of that player.”
It may well be significant to note that if such a clause did exist, as now seems to be the case, perhaps Suarez was not over keen on the move to the Emirates.
Liverpool owner Henry said, “He had a buyout clause of £40m. Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.
It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving. We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to. Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling.”
The implication appears to be that Suarez simply did not apply any pressure on Liverpool to let him go to Arsenal.
If the club bidding had been Real Madrid, it may well have been a different matter, but at this time, ‘Los Blancos’ were entangled in negotiations to secure Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur.
The comparison with the Torres situation may speak volumes. Clearly, the Spaniard was sold on a move to west London and, with or without any buyout clause, made his feelings and intentions abundantly clear.
At this stage, it’s unknown whether the new deal that Suarez signed with Liverpool has any buyout clause. Should Real Madrid come calling in the summer however, if it does exist, the Anfield club may have greater difficulty keeping the Uruguayan happy at the club.
Qualification for the Champions’ League may swing things in their favour, but for Suarez, the lure of Madrid may be just too great.
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