Luis Suárez has pleaded with Liverpool to fulfil the promise they made a year ago and let him leave Anfield. The Uruguay striker insists that he is prepared to submit a written transfer request by the end of the week if the club continue to block his move to Arsenal. Speaking for the first time since Arsenal made a £40,000,001 bid for him, Suárez told the Guardian he believes that he has been left little alternative.
Suárez claims the club told him they would let him depart if they failed to qualify for the Champions League this season and that a clause in his contract allows him to leave should someone make a bid of more than £40m. He says he has the backing of the Professional Footballers’ Association and that he his prepared to take the issue to the Premier League to force his exit and move to the Emirates before the transfer window closes on 2 September.
“Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I’d be allowed to go,” he revealed. “I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish – now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement.”
At the heart of the battle is the “release” clause that was included in Suárez’s new contract, signed last August. Liverpool have denied that the contract obliges them to sell to any club that more than £40m.
Arsenal were acting according to what they understand to be Suárez’s contractual status and the Uruguayan last night again insisted that there is a formal agreement that he could go. “I have the club’s word and we have the written contract and we are happy to take this to the Premier League for them to decide the case but I do not want it to come to that,” he said.
“I don’t feel betrayed [by Liverpool] but the club promised me something a year ago just as I promised them that I would stay and try everything possible to get us into the Champions League.
“They gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honour that. And it is not just something verbal with the coach but something that is written in the contract. I’m not going to another club to hurt Liverpool.”
The clause is sufficiently ambiguous to leave doubts over how the stalemate will be resolved. Suárez’s camp saw £40m as the threshold price at which Liverpool would have to sell, something revealed by Arsenal’s £40,000,001 bid.