Arsenal transfer target Luis Suarez will not travel on Liverpool’s preseason trip to Norway, with his club claiming that the want-away forward has a foot injury. Suarez appeared as a substitute in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial at Anfield on Saturday amid continued speculation over how much longer he will remain at the club. Despite the club’s explanation for Suarez missing the match with Valerenga on Wednesday, such talk is only likely to increase.
Arsenal have made an offer of £40,000,001, with reports suggesting that Suarez is prepared to take his case to the Premier League to show that the bid entitles him to discuss a transfer with the Gunners. Liverpool have insisted that the clause in the player’s contract simply entitles him to be informed of a bid and that he is not for sale.
Yet, Liverpool’s resistance may not be Arsenal’s only concern in getting a deal done for their leading transfer target. According to the London Evening Standard, Suarez retains hope that Real Madrid will make a move for him if the Premier League rules that he can leave for a bid in excess of £40 million. When the Uruguayan first went public with his desire to leave Liverpool earlier in the summer, he made no secret of his desire to move to the Bernabeu. At the time, reports in Spain suggested that talks had already taken place between Madrid and Suarez.
But the Spanish giants have since turned their attention to Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, despite a forward like Suarez appearing a more natural fit for their requirements following the departure of Gonzalo Higuain. Arsenal fans are now likely to have multiple reasons for hoping that Bale departs their local rivals.
Another Arsenal target, Bernard, has been in London on Tuesday, but, as it turned out, only as a stop-off en route to Ukraine for talks with Shakhtar Donetsk. Despite a story in L’Equipe recently that Arsenal had agreed a deal for the Atletico Mineiro attacking midfielder, Shakhtar are so far the only side to match his club’s €25 million (£21.6m) valuation.
Bernard, though, is not overly keen on a move to Ukraine and has made no secret of his desire to join fellow-suitors Porto. “It’s just a visit, there won't be any medical,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “Nothing is certain and I won't sign any documents. I made it clear to them that I would only visit so that I could see their facilities."
The Copa Libertadores winners have said that there has been interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, but Shakhtar are currently the only club in the running to sign the 20-year-old. "Tottenham made an offer of €18million (£15.6m) for Bernard, but they withdrew,” Atletico president Alexandre Kalil said. "Arsenal told us that they would bid, but never did. So what we have now is a €25m bid from Shakhtar."
Arsenal have also been linked with another leading young creative talent in Florian Thauvin. The 20-year-old played a starring role in France’s Under-20 World Cup triumph this summer and is set for his first season at Lille, having been signed in January but loaned back to former club Bastia for the second half of the last campaign. There has been speculation that Thauvin might not even make a competitive appearance for Lille, with Marseille also said to be in strong pursuit. However, Lille director Frederic Paquet has dismissed any suggestions that they could cash-in immediately on their starlet.
“We’ve always been very clear -- his departure has never been either considered or conceivable,” he said, reports ESPN. “Florian has just arrived at the club, he’s 100 percent a Lille player and we’re very happy about that. We’re counting a lot on his talent to enable the team to perform. Since our last update, we haven’t had any contact with the Marseille directors.”