Arsene Wenger has revealed that he nearly signed Luis Suarez from Liverpool in 2013.
Arsenal offered £40,000,001 for Suarez, which Liverpool had rejected at that time. The Gunners thought they had triggered his release clause.
John Henry, the Reds owner, publicly mocked Arsenal for making such an extraordinary offer with Arsenal adding an extra £1 to activate a clause. He tweeted: “What are they smoking over there at the Emirates?”
Wenger revealed in an interview with beIN Sports that Suarez wanted to join the Gunners. Arsenal had an agreement with the player, and Wenger said that the club had been wrongly advised that Suarez had a buy-out clause in his contract.
The Frenchman said, as quoted by The Mirror:
He was very close (to signing for Arsenal). We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him.
The deal eventually didn’t materialise. Suarez stayed on with Liverpool and enjoyed his best season at the club, where he scored 31 goals in the Premier League for the Reds.
He signed a long term contract with Liverpool that allowed the club to get a high transfer fee. The Uruguayan was sold to Barcelona the following season for a reported transfer fee of £64.98m.
During his footballing career, Suarez has stoked controversy over several biting incidents. Wenger said those were unacceptable and shocking but he has praised the striker for cleaning up his act in recent years.