Polarizing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has commented further on his immediate future. The 26-year-old has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since becoming embittered with the British press and speaking out over his disillusionment with life in England at the end of the 2012-13 season. Since then, he confirmed he would relish a transfer to Real Madrid, has attracted the attention of “two to three clubs” and was denied the chance to discuss personal terms with Arsenal as Liverpool rebuffed the Gunners’ $38.43 million advances.
When it comes to skill, technique and talent, there are few currently more on-form than Suarez. The Uruguayan, capped 69 times, has enjoyed impeccable form throughout his most recent campaign. From 2,995 minutes of Premier League action, Suarez scored 23 times and supplemented the attack with a further five assists. He therefore was responsible for creating or scoring a goal once every 106 minutes, an efficiency rate 16 minutes shy of one goal per 90 minute game.
As a comparison, Manchester United hitman Robin van Persie is regarded to be the deadliest finisher in England. The Dutchman participated in 3,123 minutes of domestic duty, scoring 26 times (three times from the penalty spot), with nine assists. This is a goals (scored + created) efficiency rate of one every 89 minutes.
Van Persie, though, is a more focal point of attack for United than Suarez is for Liverpool, which is reinforced by the fact that Luis created a total of 90 chances in the Premier League, 20 more than the former Arsenal man Robin. His trickery when the ball is at his feet also saw him win a total of five penalties, two more than van Persie.
Suarez is a special and rare type of player. He has a child-like enthusiasm for the football. He presses when his team doesn’t have it and he attacks as soon as he has it. He is unpredictable, but creative. Selfish (took an average of 5.7 shots per game during the 2012-13 Premier League season), but works incredibly well with Steven Gerrard. A throwback multi-paced dribbler who attracts fouls, a through-baller who can hold it up himself and a general annoyance to man-mark as he can play anywhere across the forward line–and often does in a single game.
It is reasons such as these that have fortified his claim as the most-talked about footballer in England, however, he has also gained notoriety for admitting to diving, being adjudged to have made racial slurs and he currently serving of a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (on top of a seven game suspension served in Netherlands for impersonating Dracula when presented with PSV Eindhoven‘s Otman Bakkal). These controversies, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger must feel, can be curbed with man-management. Perhaps, even by giving him greater responsibility (Martin Jol, for instance, appointed him captain of Ajax).
Wenger, though, will have to significantly raise his previous bid if he is to gain Liverpool’s permission to begin personal negotiations with Suarez. And he has competition for the player’s signature, too.
Speaking to a radio station in his native Uruguay, Suarez said, “You never know what’s going to happen. A phone call could change my plans. I am talking with my agent and I always have my phone with me in case anything develops. It’s good to know that after everything that’s happened, teams in England still value me as a footballer. There are several options. There are two or three interested clubs and Liverpool know about this.”