By the time you read this Luis Suarez may be Liverpool FC player and Fernando Torres may not.
Suarez’s fee of around £23m, which is subject to a medical and personal terms, represents a big hike on our initial bid of £12.7m but it is a more realistic one and with Darren Bent, in Aston Villa’s eyes at least, worth £24m and Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko £27m, good value?
You can never ever be sure how a player will settle into a club but Suarez’s goal scoring record suggests the money is well spent. For Ajax he scored 111 goals in 159 games. Whether they will be regarded as “cheap” goals because they were in the Dutch League remains to be seen however, Suarez should bring a new dimension and new options to our play which will be all the more useful if Fernando Torres stays and there’s the rub!
Although Suarez deal is welcome it seems that the appetising prospect of him and Torres lining up together is premature? Rumours of Torres’ departure to Chelsea have arisen before however, the club seem to mean business this time with a bid of £35m for the Spaniard which we immediately turned down.
So one wonders if the Suarez deal is designed to offset a Torres’ move, no more than a move to sweeten the blow of him leaving? Things certainly appear to have moved very, very quickly with Ajax since news of Chelsea’s bid for Torres was made? Perhaps the club wanted to announce Suarez’s arrival before Torres’ departure?
However let’s be positive. Torres has complained that we need to buy big and now we have splashed out on what, on he face of it at least, appears to be a quality striker? Perhaps he will want to stay, at least until the end of the season? Reports appear to contradict one another. Some say Torres has no intention of leaving, others say he wants at least to talk to Chelsea and Sky last night ominously said he wanted to leave and had submitted a transfer request which we had rejected!
There is the theory that if a player wants to leave a club he should be allowed to as quickly as possible. However, there is the transfer game to play and of course there is a £50m “trigger” clause in Torres’ contract? Will Chelsea, who seem to have put their days of spending “silly money” behind them, be prepared to go that high if they can be sure of getting their man? Will we be able to refuse? £50m even £40m? every player has his price? I suspect that by the time you read this, things will be clearer, or very soon after.
What does this say about the new owners? Clearly in an ideal world they would want Torres and Suarez to line up together for us. If Torres stays then the Suarez deal will be seen as a welcome statement of intent and ambition for the new regime. However, if he goes then it will simply be regarded as straight forward replacement purchase with them making a tidy profit to add to the £6m they got for Ryan Babel?
Perhaps the club will attempt to sweeten the blow by, in addition to Suarez, using the cash to get Charlie Adam from Blackpool however will this make up for Torres’ departure despite his questionable form and attitude this season? Is letting him go a big gamble? Potentially PR and merchandising suicide? Perhaps so if he goes to Chelsea instead of abroad perhaps not if we get a good price for a player who has been out of sorts for most of this season?
It’s not rocket science to state that only time will prove if the club’s actions are right meaning that the owners will be anxiously looking at the side’s form to end of the season just as Liverpool fans will now be anxiously waiting for 31 January to end without any headlines involving us. Yet we need to face up to unpalatable facts, something we’ve had plenty of practice of recently! As much as we love him if Fernando wants to go then perhaps it is for the best? If he is unhappy, as his body language has suggested this season, then perhaps it is for the best. If we can get a good price for him then perhaps it is for the best?
Torres won’t be the first Kop idol to leave Liverpool, of course it will hurt, for a while, but did we ever think he would stay with us forever?