As reports script Luis Suarez’s departure from Anfield, there are also suggestions for an acrimonious need to replace him. It is indeed a certainty that the Uruguayan will leave behind an indelible footprint, mostly putrid by his antics on and off the field.
Ian Ayre, the club’s managing director, has been murky to quash Suarez’s departure. He even went to lengths to suggest he could convince the wantaway striker to stay, should he return for the pre-season tour in Australia.
I am not going to doubt the power of Ian Ayre to persuade Suarez to think otherwise than leaving the club. In fact, if Brendan Rodgers has a say in this which he will, there is a fair shake that in August, Liverpool’s no. 7 is still Luis Suarez.
On the other hand, I staunchly believe the club is always a superlative ahead of the players donning its colours, and Luis Suarez has portrayed himself to be the opposite. Thereby, he should be transferred out and Liverpool should capitalize on the market value.
I ultimately foresee a bigger issue to quench for the club. For Liverpool at least, this is a situation that could test the club’s stance on matters which could hinder the club’s ascent to the Champions League. The management’s handling of this situation should symbolize that the club stamps itself to be greater than the player’s selfish magma of talent.
Come this August, it also matters more if Liverpool can assemble a squad to consistently register Ws to their Premiership standing. This sadly hasn’t been a prognosis thanks to the team’s jaded ability in recent years. Whether they keep Suarez or sell him is less of a headache than what the clubs needs to attribute itself on the pitch in different positions.
A quality centre-back or a winger matters as much as a star striker for the team to balance itself. For two years, having Suarez in the squad showed us that he single-handedly could not carry us to the Champions League. And just transferring in a striker to replace him with this squad won’t change that either.
If Luis Suarez is to leave Liverpool and the club socks in £40 million, the money could be spent anywhere – not just focally on a single forward. It could be deemed by Rodgers to strengthen the defense, add a winger or even buy a striker or two. The only goal in his entirety should be in assuring results for Liverpool. That will not just happen in this team by buying only forwards of unplumbed repute, given the club’s weaknesses elsewhere.
There is an ongoing debate all over the internet with the boiling kernel of it being if the club can find a player of the calibre of Luis Suarez.
I, too, admittedly thought the same way. Should Suarez leave Liverpool, can we poach a striker who can replace him? Who would even want to come to L4, given we don’t play Champions League or the Europa League?
But then, I thought about this too. Every time a so called ‘irreplaceable’ figure has left Anfield, Liverpool has managed to purchase a replacement or tried to mould a talent in its ranks at Kirkby. Like nothing is always perfect, the club has undeniably fallen short in substituting the void left behind by certain players though. But at the same time, the greater worry that cannot be digested is Liverpool’s unresponsiveness to lure in a player to diffuse other vacuities which were left open much earlier.
When Xabi Alonso joined the gilded company of Madridistas for a titanic sum of money, Rafael Benitez spent £20 million of it on Alberto Aquilani. As Mascherano left, Hodgson bought an ageing Christian Poulsen, who I thought was worse off to begin with than Aquilani. In came the scanty duo, out went the irretrievable dyad.
Meanwhile, Liverpool began to falter in other domains than the club took less attention to. In all due respect to Paul Konchesky and now Jose Enrique, our left back position has been an infirmity for years. Since John Arne Risse hit a slump in his Liverpool career, no player has slotted into left back with enough comfort to showcase. More and more Premier League clubs bought in crafty wingers who exploited our weakness at left back, thereby affirming our downturn to outside the Top 4.
The same can be said about our wings although it has significantly ameliorated now. But what cannot be forgotten was how much the club failed to ensure cohesion in both these positions, which to me, was our first big sign of collapse as a football club. As money was made from transfers out of the club, Liverpool were prioritizing to secure the newfound loopholes but not incentivized enough to seal the earlier ones.
This is essentially why the Suarez transfer that could still be thwarted needs to be handled adroitly. 40 million doesn’t mean all of it goes to buying strikers or attacking options. It could expend wisely towards adding a centre back, bridging the gaps between offense and defense, and at the same time, buying a striker.
A quintessential element to this debate will also be the self-inflated prices Liverpool has paid for several of its players. For a combined £75 million, the club brought in Andy Carroll, Robbie Keane and Alberto Aqualani – none of which have lived up to the price tag.
What is worse is the club has made a staggering loss in selling these players back. And this predicament could repeat itself should Liverpool let go off Stewart Downing, Sebastian Coates and Oussama Assaidi – three players presently considered surplus to requirements at the club.
An evaluation of £40 million for Luis Suarez is justified in today’s bloated transfer market. If any club was to sign him, they could rationally expect a return for the money poured in for the player. But Liverpool will need to be cautious how they handle the money awarded to them. Overpaying just to replace someone urgently shouldn’t be the solution as the consequences of a mismanaged purchase is far worse off than underpaying or correctly paying for a mediocre talent.
Exemplariness of this in the EPL was how Swansea bought Michu to slot in for Glyfi Sigurdsson or how Newcastle replaced Andy Carroll with Papiss Cisse. Liverpool might need to look deeper through the roughs of the continent than being submissive towards preeminent European clubs. This is similar to how the management recently signed Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo or in the past, brought in Sami Hyypia from Willem II Tilburg and Xabi Alonso from Real Sociedad – three clubs not the foremost of contenders in Europe.
Champions League is still a possibility and so is Luis Suarez’s departure, the latter of which is up only for the priciest suitors. As days are counted and minutes tick by, Liverpool and its fans have to accept the imminence of the club’s best player leaving.
The decibel of a fan’s voice might differ in wanting the player to stay or not but Liverpool as an organization, has to move on from a penchant for overpaying and think smart. If the team at L4 is on the rise, it needs to be first certified by how it can handle transfer business – for now that is.