Liverpool owner John Henry questioned whether Arsenal were on drugs yesterday after they made a renewed bid to sign top striker Luis Suarez.
“What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?” the US businessman tweeted after Arsenal reportedly offered ￡40,000,001 (US$61 million) for the Uruguayan star.
Liverpool rank Suarez, the Premier League’s second highest-scorer last season with 23 goals, in the same category as Edinson Cavani, who joined France’s Paris Saint-Germain for ￡55 million.
According to British reports, Arsenal’s offer triggers a clause in Suarez’s contract which requires Liverpool to consider the bid and inform the player of it.
It was not clear whether Henry was scoffing at Arsenal’s attempt to sign Suarez from a rival club, or at the amount they are offering.
Suarez joined Liverpool in Melbourne during their pre-season tour on Sunday and was a possibility in yesterday’s sell-out friendly at the 95,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground.
If he did take the field it would be his first game since being handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April. Suarez will miss the start of the Premier League season because of the ban.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he had been working to convince Suarez to stay at the club since he flew in from Montevideo, telling him there’s “a lot of love” for him at Liverpool.
“He is still a Liverpool player,” the club captain told the Australian newspaper.
Suarez, 26, has made clear he is keen to play Champions League soccer, but manager Brendan Rodgers said he was in “great spirits” as he joined his teammates.
Asked this week whether he expected Suarez to remain at Liverpool, Rodgers said: “Yes, very much so.”
He added that he was relaxed about the Suarez speculation, saying “the bottom line is he is employed by the club.”
“He’s an integral part of the squad. He’s arrived in great spirits,” Rodgers said.
Pressed on what the price tag for Suarez would be, Rodgers replied: “I didn’t say we would sell him. I said that every player has a value and a worth. Doesn’t mean you’ve got to sell them.”