“Arsenal Triggered His Buy-Out Clause”

By on March 3, 2014

Liverpool owner John Henry has sensationally confirmed that Arsenal did in fact trigger a clause in the contract of Luis Suarez last summer, but claims the Merseysiders chose to ignore it.

Arsenal’s pursuit of Suarez was the long-running story which dominated much of the summer window. Our now infamous £40m + £1 bid was widely mocked by Liverpool, pundits, journalists and rival fans after it was ‘rejected’ out of hand with the Anfield club insisting they weren’t going to sell.

Suarez went to the newspapers and expressed his desire to leave, claiming that Liverpool had to sell him not only because of the clause, but because they had given him his word they would sell if they failed to make the top four.

There was even talk of the striker taking Liverpool to court if they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, but Liverpool dug their heels in and Arsenal soon became the laughing stock for apparently trying to trigger a clause that didn’t even exist.

Well, it turns out we were well within our rights to table a £40m + £1 bid as it DID trigger a valid clause in the strikers contract, but Liverpool owner John Henry claims the club chose to ignore it and refuse to sell, as players contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in the world of football.

Henry made the revelation speaking at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, when he said:

“Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the English Premier League which is arguably the top soccer league in the world,”

“And he had a buy-out clause – I don’t know what degree I should go into this – but he had a buy-out clause of £40million – more than 60 million (US) dollars. So Arsenal, one of our prime rivals this year… they offered £40million and one pound for him and triggered his buy-out clause.

“But what we’ve found over the years is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually not in England, in world football. It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving.

“We sold Fernando Torres for £50million. We didn’t want to sell but we were forced to.

“For the first time (with Suarez) we took the position that we weren’t selling.

“Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position we’re just not selling and it’s been great for Luis, it’s been great for us, and what will happen at the end of year… I think we”re going to make Champions League and we have a small chance of winning the Premier League this year.

“We have three gentlemen up front: Suarez, (Raheem) Sterling and (Daniel) Sturridge. Those three are young, and I think Luis and those three could be together for a long time.”

So basically, Suarez had a release clause, we triggered it, but Liverpool refused to sell anyway and took the risk that Arsenal and/or the player wouldn’t take them to court. Obviously the gamble paid off and now everything looks rosy for them, but it’s a disgusting way to treat a player and it also undermines a legally binding contract. What’s to stop all clubs doing this now?

The fact is, Liverpool probably knew only too well that Arsenal wouldn’t bother taking them through an expensive legal battle as it would take months to resolve. Suarez would also have had to have gone on strike, which was very unlikely to happen, particularly in a World Cup year.

So really, Liverpool played it very well. But, it’s set a dangerous precedent and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other clubs refusing to adhere to the terms of a buy-out clause in future. In fact, there were rumours that Dnipro’s president refused to sign off the paper-work on Liverpool’s proposed move for Yevhen Konoplyanka in January, despite the club triggering his €15m release clause. I hope that’s true, karma’s a bitch ain’t it?


  1. Karl

    March 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Hahahaha Henry et al played a blinder there investment bankers some of the shrewdest business men in business they have recruited the best young manager in world football and the young team lfc have will be able to compete on all fronts with a few nice additions won’t be long before we get is gone!! And Rodgers has a few years with this team the sky is the limit

  2. Stevo

    March 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Reading this article made me chuckle seems abit bitter to me ha ha.

  3. George Hardaker

    March 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Let’s be clear, Arsenal’s offer did NOT compel Liverpool to sell, your offer was mocked because it deserved to be! now let it go! we are laughing at you for perpetuating this!!!

  4. Scouse Billy

    March 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Yes, a “disgusting way to treat a player” – he’s so unhappy that he stayed rofl

  5. Macca

    March 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Of course all these reports of John Henry’s comments, neglect to mention that the PFA examined the clause at the request of Suarez and confirmed there was no obligation on the part of Liverpool to sell the player. There was only a need to report offers to the player, and negotiate in good faith. As there would no doubt be mention of confidentiality in the contract, how did Arsenal know about the clause that they wrongly believed to be a ” Buy out” clause. Wenger kept saying they did things the right way, none sense! Anyway Arsenal now have German instead so all’s well etc.
    Enjoy the Europa cup next season guys!!!

  6. Ricardo Riano

    March 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    It’s called bluffing, not cheating 🙂

  7. Peno

    March 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Mmmmm…. let me see, Kono “the plank” or Suarez. Yup I think Karma served us fairly well there!

    Maybe if Arsenal hadn’t be so cheap with their offer they might have had some serious consideration paid to it. Anyone who has seen recent movements of world class players will know that this was very much a derisory offer. And typical Arsenal. How can you compare say Bale to Madrid at £80m+ and Suarez to the Gooners for £40m+ … £1!!

  8. lefthanded

    March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Are you serious? i’m sure if it was an Arsenal player in question you would be happy that the club stood firm. It’s time that clubs have more control over who goes or not.

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