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Suarez And Arsenal – The Final Word

On 20th December 2013 Luis Suarez signed a new contract with Liverpool that not only raised his wages but purported to keep him on Merseyside until 2018. Twitter was awash with back-slapping Liverpudlians, proudly proclaiming that Christmas had come early, and taking every opportunity to taunt The Arsenal, who had infamously bid for Suarez back in August. It wasn’t just Koppites gleefully asking us what we planned smoking over the festive period, it was also cue for the start of a full-blown media love in about the careful husbandry of Liverpool, of the strength of John Henry, of the ambition of Rodgers and the sublimity of Suarez’s play. Suarez’s breath-taking partnership with Sturridge and Sterling had not only seen Liverpool climb towards the top of the table, but had also seen the UK Media forget all about the sanctimonious attitudes they’d adopted back in March when once again Suarez was persona non grata, not this time for racial abuse, but for baring his teeth at Ivanovic. It was a remarkable Volta-face by the press. Not swayed by any Christmas spirit, Scrooge-like I couldn’t help posting this on Twitter that day.

Clever from Suarez and LFC. He needed a buy-out clause, they couldn’t risk selling below market value. The vultures will circle now.

What I didn’t know then of course was that Suarez’s brilliance would take Liverpool to the very brink of Premier League success, for I thought it likely that Liverpool would probably finish 5th or 6th in the table. The memory of our comfortable 2-0 win over them was still fresh in the mind, and their defensive frailties looked enough to keep them out of Champions League contention. What did rankle though was the constant reminder that we had come so close to signing him (we would have been out of sight by New Year’s Day if we had) but also the very real suspicion that had we done so it would have caused a storm of opprobrium that The Arsenal would perhaps never recovered from. For that alone it is worth replaying the events of last summer one last time.

At some stage The Arsenal got wind of the fact that Suarez had a release clause in his contract, and that a bid of £40 million would be enough to secure his services. It seemed likely that those close to the player had whispered the information into a few ears, and it was Arsene Wenger who decided to act on it. This was a fine footballing decision, but a bold move nonetheless. Suarez had been in trouble before and he was in trouble now. He was not yet half-way through a ten match ban, but more importantly his past misdemeanors were regularly paraded by English journalists: at the time Suarez was not a popular figure at all, and I suspect that had he come to The Arsenal he would have remained unpopular, and that the club would have been slated for encouraging racism, for turning a blind eye to any kind of sporting morality, and for having a manager whose very Frenchness guaranteed that he’d never understand the concept of fair play.  Never a universally liked club in the press, I suspect that had Suarez fired The Arsenal to Premier League success we would have become the Millwall of the 21st Century: nobody likes us and we don’t care. Despite all of this, Wenger knew that Suarez was a player of a lifetime, one of the elite top four (Messi, Ronaldo and Bale are the others) currently playing with the ability to single-handedly change the course of a game – and to do so on a regular basis.

No stranger to unusual transfer fees, having paid the unusual sum in 1975 of £333,333 and 34 pence to Newcastle United for Malcolm Macdonald (the 34 pennies to ensure that the fee was exactly over a third of a million pounds), Arsenal managed to enrage all Liverpool supporters with the cheeky extra pound that would trigger the transfer clause.

Many have suggested that it was that pound that caused John Henry to dig his heels in, but I suspect it more likely that he knew that £40 million was at the very least 30 million less than Suarez was worth, and that sum of money was indeed worth playing hard ball over. Whatever the truth, the saga rumbled on for weeks, before Arsenal finally admitted defeat and realized that they would have to spend one more season without a top, top predatory goal scorer.

It was a shame, but there it was. But what few could have predicted was that it was the fact (and the way) that the Arsenal bid for him that caused the Suarez revisionism among the UK media, and it was this that eventually stuck in the throat. He soon became a reformed character in their eyes, and this was all down to Brendan Rodgers and Stevie Gerrard.

Even more strangely Liverpool were cast in the role of Cinderella club, fighting bravely against impossible odds, and their astonishing run of form after Christmas and through the early Spring became a thing of national celebration. And somehow, every goal that Suarez scored, every point that he helped secure gave someone, somewhere an opportunity to sneer at The Arsenal.

I for one couldn’t stand it: couldn’t stand the way he put us to the sword in that 5-1 trouncing, couldn’t stand it that when Chelsea did much the same thing to us it was somehow the spirit of Suarez that was invoked, couldn’t bear it that all I could hear was Suarez, Suarez, Suarez. The very name mocked all I did, for every time it was uttered by press or pundit it allowed them simultaneously to sneer at Arsene.  And the worst thing of all was that I could see how brilliant he was. Quite simply he is one of the best I have ever seen, a genius footballer who makes the impossible happen on a regular basis, and it galled me beyond belief that I couldn’t enjoy his skill, not because I objected to him as a person but because he wasn’t an Arsenal player and that everything he did diminished us. I had much the same problem with Gareth Bale, but despite his appalling team, the media adulation didn’t bother me nearly as much, and so I found it easier to cope with his successes. I suppose it was because he wasn’t playing for a direct rival really.

 

Shortly before the England-Uruguay match I said to a friend that I knew Suarez would score the goal that would beat us but that I hoped he did it in such an underhand way it would turn the media against him again (I felt that this would harm Liverpool somehow, such is my inability to see anything except through my Arsenal lens). Well, it didn’t work out quite like that, but in a way I got my wish.

It now seems as if he is off to Spain, just as I suspected he would be back in December. And despite the huge fee that Liverpool will receive from his sale they will be weaker without him, just as Spurs were weaker without Bale. Players like that cannot be replaced: they are that good, they make all the difference, and I hate it when other sides in the Premier League have them and we don’t, if only because it makes me at times resent my own players for not being in that stratospheric class.

So now I can look forward to the coming season knowing that I won’t have to have endure such a sickening medial love-in about a player I had once so shamefully coveted, but that I can also enjoy watching him play again on a regular basis, or at least until we once again face Barcelona in the Champions League.

 

Today’s  post was by @foreverheady

101 comments on “Suarez And Arsenal – The Final Word

  1. Thanks for the article, FH.

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  2. Don’t envy you having to mediate FH!

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  3. That psychologist who was helping Brazil this week

    I bet that stays off his CV

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  4. They were too gung ho in the first half and then once the first goal went in they unravelled really quickly. Without Neymar to pull them out of a hole, they had nothing else to offer. This was a very poor Brazil team and eventually they were going to be found out. But I admit, I never saw this coming.

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  5. Denial is the first stage of coping, Hunter. You can blame Fred too, but it’s not going to change the fact that David Luiz is poo.

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  6. Not only is Luiz a very poor defender, his lack of discipline, fight and effort is really really embarrassing.

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  7. Such a shame Ozil could not make it 8 to stuff the words back into the mouths of his detractors!

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  8. Ozil put in a shift and a half tonight. Getting forward, tracking back.

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  9. Well, anyone who would need him to score a goal to prove his worth hasnt really got much of a clue, Pass.

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  10. “Not only is Luiz a very poor defender, his lack of discipline, fight and effort is really really embarrassing.”

    £50 million! I bet PSG are gutted. Unfortunately, chelski are smiling.

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  11. Luiz is how good Hunter?

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  12. Per Mertesacker -MoM ?

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  13. Fuck me, what was that?

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  14. hehe not so fast….

    ok you chose this game to judge him ? very fair of you..lets judge per and kons on those high scorline defeats too… but since you saw the game ..his first mistake that actually contributes to a goal is at 4-0 where he runs out and misses it completely… in the 1st from shurle ..lahm ends up alone in the area with time/space to shoot or chose where to give assist. the whole defense was a joke. besides noone called him beckenbauer just doubted/laughed at your claim that djourou is at a better/higher level…

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  15. Luiz is how good Hunter?

    certainly better than djourou, … dont you think?

    let me enjoy this humiliation.. whats wrong with you all? lol…obviously tomorrow’s game will be the dogfight, andi hope mesi carries them through. i expect macherano to help too. although van gaal…he is wise …fucker…..holland has a manager, argentina dont , its what worries me.

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  16. ah gains ..remind who was playing centre back at o.t that day again … but i dont know i guess it would be considered ‘below the belt’ to judge him on that….

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  17. 1st goal there are three brasilians sitting in a circle, a well worked corner from the germans, and still i feel the keeper could have done a bit better..he is already falling.. 2nd and 3rd dante was on another pitch, gustavo..non existent, fernandinho was also non existent…terrible all of them…4th – luiz does a kamikaze run, ends in disaster. but even at 3-0 game is finished. 5th i dont remember, the 6th we talked about, the 7th amazing finish. in any case a monumental collapse aided by scolari’s ” inspirations” maicon gustavo fred paulinho etc and this game you chose to take a cheap shot at luiz? or is the shot aimed at me for nailing your ridiculous claim? heh…at the very least the only one who showed some nerve was luiz, even if it only manifested as him trying to kick mueller, the rest run off to hide and so far the only one who has come out to apologise is him ..wreck

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  18. sorry 4th is fernandinho..5th is luiz.

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  19. My guess was that many Brasil players were not tackling because they were afraid of picking up yellow cards and missing the final.
    That and finally being found out for being a bit 2nd rate.

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  20. Hahahaha!
    It would have been a mercy if the referee hadn’t tilted so badly in the first game on the tournament (Bra vs. Cro)

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  21. Gains, don’t bother.

    JD had Toure and a completely green Jenks to steward that day, not to mention the rest. And all the extra curricular shenanigans.But he’s never played as poorly as Luiz tonight, when Luiz had a Homer ref to help him out (unlike a visiting team at OT under slurgie). Not even at RB! Shocking.

    £50m!!!!
    I think his third party owner *nudge nudge wink wink* is stealin’ a livin’.

    It’s Thiago Silva I feel sorry for, he didn’t deserve this. Mwahahahaha!

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  22. SANCHEZ!

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  23. Mom Oxil

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  24. Hummels didnt play in the duxieme half

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  25. I’ve never enjoyed being so right. Allah uh Akbar.

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  26. A few weeks ago when commenting upon my long long crush on Sanchez I mentioned I expected him to move to Italy, but maybe not!
    Makes a change having a player on the books who wanted to leave Bunga Bunga. As opposed to one who is dreaming of moving there. A shame this simple and easy to grasp logic is not understood by all. Ah well.

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  27. Wenger filho do a puta.

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  28. Most goals conceded by a home nation. I want this to become a David Luiz stat.

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  29. But he’s never played as poorly as Luiz tonight

    sorry ..have you seen the goals? so which ones were his fault ? they all collapsed, not just luiz…but im happy to listen and see how much of experts you are…..

    +++

    JD had Toure and a completely green Jenks to steward that day,

    do you mean traore ? and how does that change that this game tonight is not one to judge just as i wont judge djourou on that game in o.t…

    i dont think you realise but my comment on djourou was to demonstrate the unfairness in gains using tonights game to judge luiz….

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  30. sure gains ..it was luiz vs germany…

    maicon marcelo dante fernandinho bernard fred hulk played blinders and luiz cost them the final….

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  31. d_c @12:03am: The Brazillians seemed fearful of getting close to the Germans especially in the 1st Half. It was as if the exposure of their tactical fouling vs Chile and Colombia had a crippling effect. They were standing off and the Germans ripped them to shreds. I agree the Brazillians were found out. The Emperor wears no clothes.

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  32. Tonight proved David Luiz is not technically nor emotionally disciplined enough to be a central defender at the highest level. Pair him with Dante’s shakeyness, it was a disaster waiting to happen. Many of us have made this criticism ever since many tried to fool us into believing Luiz he is better than Koscielny.

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  33. Like the Spaniards say: TOMA!

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  34. EL PAPA NO SE MANCHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  35. ARRRRRIBBBAA LAS MANOOOOOOOS LO APOSTOLICO RAMANO. EL QUE NO HACE PALMAS ES HIJO DEL DIABLO.

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  36. BRAILERO, BRASILERO QUE AMARGADO QUE SE TE VE, PANCHO MARADONA Y MESSI SON MAS GRANDES QUE PELE.

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  37. Let me be your hero, Hunter!

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  38. This is the song that was playing when Germany fucked Brazil

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  39. Post Coitus:

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  40. Back on the hunt

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  41. Great song for the commute

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  42. I have seen Luiz play very well indeed, and I have seen him play poorly. I remember the fight and desire he showed when Chelsea were chasing their quarter final against PSG, just as I remember his physicality and dominance in many other games. And then he has stinkers like last night, which makes me think that he is either more prone to highs and lows than most, or that he is a player without a position, or at least needs a very well organised team around him.

    Anyway, he doesn’t need my sympathy, especially because as far as I can tell it was our very own Ozil who was the most picked upon after the game for his so called “non-performance.”

    And Hunter is right in a way, because when these heavy defeats happen (OT, Anfield, Stamford Bridge) they can happen so quickly that the collective will of the team crumbles and they are bullied into submission. Had it been a fight it would have been stopped after the third goal, so clearly were they defencelessly on the ropes.

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  43. FH; Luiz is a good footballer, just never ever a central defender as shotta says. And definitely never ever worth even a fifth of what PSG paid for him.

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  44. Morning FH

    ha ha, if it had been a fight it the fef would have stopped it after 3 goals.

    It’s seems Gains had a musical night whilst all the brits were in dreamland! So will we or won’t we see Sanchez rolled out in the new Puma kit today? Are we all creaming our knickers at the prospect and hoping that the rumours are true? Lets keep the musical theme going, and as the Poynter Sisters sang

    I’m so excited
    And I just can’t hide it
    I’m about to loose control and I think I like it
    I’m so excited
    And I just can’t hide it
    And I know
    I know
    I know
    I know
    I know
    I want you
    I want you

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  45. shotta no he is not better than konscielny no way…but when some clueless lot start talking shit and bring down players who have done things in their careers to favour personal and biased choices……..and it was only a djourou/luiz comparison …not a luiz vs maldini baresi sammer …

    i asked the panel of experts ( since they know so much on football and judge as harshly) which of the goals were luiz fault…im still waiting… or are they going by bbc and espn commentary…hmmm pick and chose i suppose…

    ++++

    foreverheady…..he just used a historic humiliation to have a cheap shot about something which im right…..and like others, throws things around without being able to support it…

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  46. FH; Luiz is a good footballer, just never ever a central defender as shotta says. And definitely never ever worth even a fifth of what PSG paid for him.

    it wasnt his fee or his favoured position that was the base start of this discussion……… but the horrific statement that djourou is better/underrated……mueller is what you term underrated..world class killer, control, pass, shots, movement, he got everything but people fawn over ronaldos ……

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  47. HAHAHA
    DIABOLICO GAINS.
    i feel bad for the brazillians. They walked of that pitch without a shread of respect and self-confidence as footballers. cant think of one outstanding performance by any player on that team. They got murdered, not killed . lets see how the argyees do tomorrow. I just hope van Gaul does not win it as I don’t want him to take over at manure a world champion. That will not do .
    I was hoping their rebuilding would take four to five years, giving us some breathing room to take care of some bussiness.

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  48. “in what planet is zuniga going for the ball? ive lost you there……”

    The same planet that Von Bergen was going for the ball at head height, when some lunatic kicked him in the face presumably

    To be fair you have to admit if you really wanted to ‘do’ Neymar you would not do it with a knee in the back. The chances of that causing a serious injury are pretty slim.

    You’d use your foot surely …………………..

    Or better still kick him in the head ?

    What you probably would not do us bite him, unless you had some long term mischief in mind

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