Barcelona taking gamble on Jekyll and Hyde star Luis Suarez
According to reports, it is almost certain World Cup biting villain Luis Suarez will join Barcelona this summer, for a fee in the region of £60m-80m. However, have the Catalan giants made a horrendous move, or can they control the capricious animal inside him to help their side be world beaters again? And how will this benefit Liverpool?
The 27-year-old superstar striker really is one of a kind, but in many ways, for the good and bad. Uruguayan Suarez was hero-turned-villain this World Cup for his country, after his remarkable recovery from knee surgery saw him eliminate England in Group D by scoring both goals. However, that followed his third big biting incident when he chomped on the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
After missing the first game of the tournament in the loss to Costa Rica, Suarez acted like a man who was taking all his frustration out of that absence in the 2-1 win over the Three Lions. But that frustration continued into the next match, which ultimately led to him being banned for the rest of the World Cup.
FIFA then issued a four-month ban on Suarez (until the end of October), so it is horrifying to think what kind of carnage he will cause upon his return this time around, whether he will be in a Barca or Liverpool jersey.
But, if and most likely when this transfer will go through, Brendan Rodgers’ Reds will benefit heavily from the fee the Uruguayan will command. Liverpool reportedly want £80m, Barcelona £60m, with a compromise possible.
For a man signed for around £23m back in 2011, the Merseyside club (9/1 Premier League chances) are set for a triple profit and have already splashed out on new arrivals, with more seemingly on the way.
Former Southampton duo Adam Lallana (approximately £25m) and Rickie Lambert (£4m), as well as Emre Can (£10m) from Bayer Leverkusen, have already made the move to Anfield. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Belgium’s World Cup star and teenage attacker Divock Origi (£10m), and Serbia winger Lazar Markovic (£25m) are on their way to the club as well.
Together, all those players just about make up the whole of Suarez’s possible fee, but Rodgers will need to careful of avoiding the disappointment that Tottenham suffered following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid last summer. Spurs manager at the time Andre Villas-Boas spent big on the likes of the Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli, who all flopped, so Rodgers will need to make sure he keeps the team spirit of the 2013/14 season.
Suarez’s contribution and energy will be irreplaceable, though. In his total of 133 appearances for the Reds, he managed 82 goals and around half as many assists, and scored 31 times in 33 matches last term.
Barcelona (11/10 second-favourites to win La Liga) will certainly be getting one of the world’s best footballers, but how will they be able to please all three superstars Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi?
All three are highly-regarded for many attributes, including dribbling and scoring, but deciding who take the set pieces, in particular free-kicks, could cause friction and jealousy over favouritism.
If the transfer to Barcelona does go through, they will also be without Suarez until October 26th, meaning he will miss three Champions League games, as well as domestic fixtures.
If Suarez, who apologised for his actions, again, can be controlled, new Barca boss Luis Enrique will have one of the most devastating match-winners on his side. But the Uruguayan is an instinct player; and who’s to say he won’t do this again and therefore face an even bigger ban? However, his talent and presence is undeniable.
It’s a risk, but a risk any club would be foolish not to take.