Monday, May 20, 2024

Luis Suarez to Arsenal? Nah.


welcome to a brand new week and it kicks off with a story in The Telegraph about how we’ve had a £30m bid for Luis Suarez ‘rebuffed’ by Liverpool.

I have to say I am highly dubious. Even when you consider the pinch of salt that has to be taken with every story at this time of year, this seems a touch fantastical. While there’s no denying the Uruguayan is a fantastic player, who scored some brilliant goals for Liverpool, there are a number of reasons why I think we wouldn’t consider him.

Firstly, there’s the baggage. It’s not as if we haven’t had players with issues before, but I think there’s too much going on with Suarez for any English team that needs to be careful with its money to consider. A Chelsea or a Man City could have a go, because for them money isn’t really a consideration. They can blow £25m on an Adebayor or £50m on a Torres and if doesn’t work out, meh. It doesn’t really bother them.

Arsenal lashing out £30m, more or less double our transfer record, on a player who is, let’s face it, unstable at the best of times doesn’t make sense to me. There’s the racism thing, something that still sits uneasily with lots of people, and rightly so; his diving – not that any team is whiter than white in that regard, but he’s quite the one for the gamesmanship, or cheating as it’s also called; plus his publicly stated desire to leave England because of the English press.

Moving to London puts him closer to most of them, the added pressure of being a record signing at a club that attracts some of the laziest coverage around would make it a journalist’s dream. He can be critical of them all he wants, but if you want to stay out of the papers for reasons other than your performances, try not being racist and, of course, it would be much better if you didn’t cannibalise people on the pitch.

Which brings us to the second reason why I think this is a non-story. As soon as Suarez gets fed up and wants to go somewhere else he has a surefire way of getting his move. He bites someone. He did it at Ajax and never played for them again. Last season, he did it at Liverpool, chomping on Ivanovic and he sat out the rest of the season there, carrying a ban into this campaign. The Mugsmasher himself is quite convinced he did it deliberately in order to make it impossible for him to stay at Anfield.

So, although sometimes you have to balance out the baggage with the talent – and the talent is so supreme you can overlook some of the bad, crazy, mental, ridiculous stuff – sometimes you can’t, and I think this is one of those times. Hypothetically, if we did sign him and he did something a bit cheaty/divey when he returned from his lengthy suspension, leading the press to go to town on a serial offender, what’s to stop him behaving in a such a way that Arsenal have no choice but to get rid?

If you think he wouldn’t, you’re not looking at the evidence. Spending £30m on a player who can give you no assurance of acceptable behaviour is too much of a risk for a club like Arsenal that needs to spend its money well this summer. There’s little point in blowing £30m (and according to the Telegraph that’s not even enough) on a guy whose character and mental state are so obviously questionable.

Would he improve us on the pitch? For sure. He’s a fantastic player on his day, but the risks associated with harnessing that talent are far too high. It’s too simplistic to say we should only look at what a player can do during games. With Madrid reportedly interested in him, and us in a Madrid striker (some fella whose name hasn’t been mentioned much recently), it’s hard not to think this might be a story to try and put some final motion into those deals.

I don’t think there’s any Arsenal interest and I very much doubt there’s been an Arsenal bid. Maybe I’m wrong, but none of it makes any sense to me. Which isn’t to say stuff Arsenal have done hasn’t made sense before, but it’s usually been cheaper nonsense than this.

In the Spanish press there’s little or nothing new about the Higuain move. Marca and AS are barren, Arsenal free, wastelands this morning, but hopefully that will change this week. The team is off on the tour of Asia on Friday, which means the manager is far away from potential targets – which I hope means that this week is the week that things happen.

New players don’t necessarily have to be in place to go on the tour itself. It’s the very start of pre-season and the real hard work doesn’t begin until a bit later, but with the tour lasting two weeks, or thereabouts, it’d be good to know we’ve got some business done and things can click into place when we get back.

Fingers crossed anyway. As always, breaking news throughout the day on Arseblog News, more here tomorrow.

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