Arsene Wenger has opened up on Arsenal’s ‘ludicrous’ bid for Luis Suarez in 2013, the north London side infamously tabling an offer of £40,000,001 for the former Liverpool forward.
Suarez had established himself as one of the finest players in the Premier League after moving to Merseyside but had grown frustrated by the Reds’ inability to compete for major honours, a seventh-placed finish seeing the striker agitate for an exit in search of Champions League football.
Arsenal had been keen on signing a player who scored 30 goals in all competitions the previous season and had been informed of a release clause in Suarez’s contract, allowing the player to leave Liverpool should a side table an offer in excess of £40m.
The Gunners memorably offered almost the minimum amount to trigger the clause, only to discover the clause never existed and withdraw their interest in embarrassing circumstances, Liverpool owner John W. Henry taking to social media to criticise Arsenal’s approach.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?
— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
Suarez remained at Liverpool for a further season and was named as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year following a prolific season in which he won the division’s Golden Boot, eventually departing the following summer for Barcelona in a £75m deal.
Former Arsenal boss Wenger has now lifted the lid on the club’s attempts to sign the Uruguay international, revealing his side were misled regarding the clause after agreeing a deal with the player and his agent.
“In 2014 [the 2013/14 season] were looking to get Luis Suarez over,” he writes in his new book, ‘Arsene Wenger: My life in Red and White’.
“We had an agreement with the player and his agent. But the agent claimed that there was a clause: with an offer above £40million, Liverpool would be obliged to let the player go.
“But thanks to an indiscretion within Liverpool, I found out that his clause never existed.
“To check this was true, we offered £40,000,001. This may have seemed ludicrous, I admit.
“But Liverpool did not want to sell Suarez, they could afford to keep him and there was already an offer from Barca on the horizon.”