Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Suarez bid divides opinion as Arteta calls for ‘big signings’

So, last night Liverpool’s Managing Director, Ian Ayre, confirmed that they had turned down an Arsenal offer for Luis Suarez.

Speaking to Bloomberg, he said:

I’ve heard him say it would great to have an opportunity to play for Arsenal and likewise Real Madrid. But He certainly hasn’t called me up and said he wants to leave. We had an offer which is fairly public from Arsenal. We said no to that offer, and as far as we’re concerned he turns up for training when he’s due back. And we’ll move forward on that basis.

Although there’d been plenty of smoke about the Uruguayan, there’d been little fire to go with it. Now we’re positively flaming. And it’s proving to be hugely divisive. There are people who are simply happy we’re going for a ‘world class’ player and willing to pay a large amount of money to get him, there are those who think Saurez, and the way he’s behaved, means he’s a bad fit for Arsenal FC.

Like any club we’ve had our problem players in the past, players who have been involved in behaviour unbecoming to the standards set by most football clubs. Drink, drugs, criminality of various kinds, but the difference for me is that we’ve never paid £35m+ for one of those players. Those guys have usually grown up at the club, and have been repentant in the wake of their indiscretions too. Suarez is completely not – pointing the finger of blame at the media or others who are out to get him rather than taking responsibility himself.

I get that he’s a quality player, I can appreciate the fact he’s a very talented footballer, but I’m unable to separate those qualities from his character which I find, frankly, appalling. Even the idea that we’re bidding for him doesn’t sit right with me. He’s a bitey racist, simple as that, and it’s little wonder that with a fanbase as diverse as ours, there’s serious opposition to the move.

In a way it’s quite comical, after years of penny-pinching and bargain hunting, only Arsenal could make an offer which smashes their transfer record to bits yet leaves people bemoaning the potential deal and fans at each others throats. I can’t go on record strongly enough to say I don’t want Suarez at Arsenal, especially when there’s a fantastic option like Gonzalo Higuain available. Put our money where our mouth is there, and he’s an Arsenal player.

You get a top class striker, you get a man who comes with no baggage, no biting, no racism, no continuous suspension, no beef with the media, no history of making trouble to get his way out of a club when he feels like it. To those who say Wenger could tame him or it wouldn’t happen with us, just look at what he’s doing to Liverpool. His indefensible behaviour dragged that club through the mud, they supported him to the hilt – incorrectly, in my opinion, but they did – and how did he repay them?

He doesn’t get loyalty. He’d do the same to us at some point, and who knows what he’d do in order to make it happen. I’d give you short odds on a quick chomp or something else that no right-minded grown-up would actually do. He doesn’t care what he does once he gets what he wants. He’s essentially a toddler with football skills.

No. No. No. And no again for good measure.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has echoed the sentiments of many fans by stating it’s time the club got busy in the transfer market. Speaking from Vietnam, the Spaniard said:

The club have said they are going to be very ambitious in the market and have got the financial resources to get big players. I think it’s about time. Now, financially, they are very strong so maybe we will be more aggressive in the transfer market. I am excited. They made it public that they are going to go big. Big signings create a good atmosphere and we need to do something because other teams are doing it and I think we will.

Does anything really need to be added to that? In the absence of Vermaelen, both on pitch and on the tour, Arteta is essentially the club captain. He’s one of our most senior players, and when even he’s urging the club to bring in top players, then that says something to me.

There was nothing terribly guarded about what he said. We know footballers sit on the fence, especially when talking about things which might be viewed as critical of the club or the manager, and while he backed Arsene Wenger and even spoke about him getting a new deal, the message here is as clear as day.

He wants the club to bring in ‘big signings’, we want the club to bring in big signings, it’s now down to the club to make those signings happen. Perhaps he knows what’s going on, that the deals are being worked on, that arrivals are imminent, but it does feel as if there’s an element of putting a bit of pressure on with those comments. He knows, more than anyone I’m sure, that this is a team which is still some way short of being properly competitive and the new season is now just a month away.

The clock is ticking, new players have to settle in, get to know their new teammates, and the sooner we get that done the better off we’ll be for it. Perhaps, while all the commercial and sponsorship hoo-ha is going on on the tour, somebody’s working on the stuff that will benefit us next season. Clearly there’s a balance to be found between this work and the work on the team itself, I just worry we’re too far over to one side right now.

Till tomorrow.

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