Arsenal’s hopes of signing Luis Suarez appear to be all but over, following reports from Uruguay that the forward has said that he is now prepared to stay at Liverpool. The Uruguay international has been locked in an increasingly acrimonious battle with his club as he tried for force through his exit this summer. But just a week after publicly declaring his determination to leave and accusing Liverpool of breaking promises over a clause in his contract, he now appears to have accepted the Merseyside club’s stance.
Suarez is reported to have said: “For now, due to all of the people’s affection, I will be staying.” What’s more, GolTV Latin America journalist Martin Charquero tweeted that Suarez had suggested that he might even sign a new contract at Anfield. "Luis Suarez confirms to me that he will not leave Liverpool,” he wrote. “The support of the fans in recent weeks influenced his decision. Suarez sees it as likely that he'll sign a renewal to the contract that binds him to Liverpool."
The one caveat to the story is various outlets in Britain reporting that Suarez has not yet made his new stance known to Liverpool. Still, Suarez has tended to relay his true feelings while on international duty in his home country, as he did when he initially made it known that he wanted a transfer earlier this summer.
Arsenal had hoped that by bidding £1 over £40 million it would trigger a clause that would compel Liverpool to the negotiating table. Instead, Liverpool have continued to insist that it requires no such thing. Last week Liverpool owner John W. Henry stated categorically that Suarez would not be sold to Arsenal, calling the idea of losing their best player to a rival for a Champions League place, “ludicrous.”
If Suarez does remain at Anfield, it leaves Arsenal with a major problem less than three weeks before the end of the transfer window and having passed up the opportunity to sign several other forwards as they focused on the former Ajax man.
The Daily Mirror has reported that manager Arsene Wenger has begun compiling a list of alternatives, led by Michu and Edin Dzeko. Swansea City’s Michu was arguably the signing of the Premier League last season, having arrived for a meager £2 million and going on to net 18 times in the league. His value is sure to have sky-rocketed, however, and it is hard to imagine Swansea being prepared to part with the 27-year-old for less than £20 million.
Another issue with the former Rayo Vallecano man is that his natural position is as an attacking midfielder rather than leading the line as he was often required to do more through circumstance last season.
Certainly Dzeko would provide a player who relishes being the focal point of attack. The Manchester City striker has been linked with Arsenal in the past when the Bosnian had fallen down the pecking order under Roberto Mancini. Yet, new City manager Manuel Pellegrini has spoken in glowing terms about the Bosnia international and appears to see him as a big part of his plans. It seems unlikely that City will be prepared to lose the 27-year-old at this stage of the summer, unless Dzeko pushes through a move, viewing it as a chance to get more regular action in a World Cup year.
Having seen a host of quality forwards move on to other clubs this summer, Wenger now faces a race against time and increasingly diminished options with which to add to his side's attacking threat for what is a crucial upcoming season.