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Wenger: Barca star ‘had agreement’ to join Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Luis Suarez had an agreement in place to join Arsenal before Liverpool blocked the move back in 2013.
Suarez was a huge hit at Anfield after joining the club from Ajax and ended up scoring 82 goals in 133 appearances to establish himself as one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.
With Liverpool still struggling to break back in to the top four, Suarez went public with his desire to leave in search of Champions League football in the summer of 2013 and he was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal.
As many Liverpool fans seem to forget, Suarez ended up doing an interview in the Guardian where he pleaded with the Merseysiders to let him move to the Emirates but Liverpool were doing all they could to hang on to him.
Wenger has now revealed that Suarez was ‘very close’ to joining Arsenal as we actually had an agreement in place with the Uruguayan international over a move to north London.
However, unfortunately we were led to believe he had a clause in his contract that could be triggered by any offer in excess of £40m, which led to the now infamous £40m + £1 offer that was mocked by Liverpool at the time.
The Reds refused to do business and were willing to go to the courts to prevent Suarez from joining Arsenal, so we were forced to pull out of the deal and the striker was eventually persuaded to stay at Anfield with the promise of being sold abroad the following summer.
Wenger is quoted by the Mirror as saying on Suarez:
“He was very close (to signing for Arsenal). We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him.
“I’m convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad.”
In hindsight, missing out on Suarez feels like a huge turning point for Arsenal as I firmly believe we’d have picked up a title or two had we managed to get that deal over the line four years ago.
It was always going to be difficult to sign a star player from a rival club but in the end we were messed about by his agent who wrongly thought he had secured a £40m+ buyout clause in Suarez’s contract.
Suarez ended up joining Barcelona in 2014 for about £60m and has been showing us what we missed out on ever since while we’ve had to endure Giroud as our main striker over the past four years.