In the wake of Arsenal audacious (or controversy) bid of £40,000,001 for Suarez, Gooners everywhere have been divided like the parting of the Red Sea. And we could assume that Liverpool fans felt insulted by that cheeky additional one pound coin. Apparently that weird amount of bid was designed based on advice from Suarez agent, in order to trigger one clause in his contract. Liverpool and the player camp have different interpretations of that clause and no doubt Arsenal decided to exploit it. Whatever the outcome, this bid will unsettle the player and provoke debates among fans, agents and lawyers for the coming days.
I won't discuss about Suarez controversy here. I'd rather recommend this excellent post, The Suarez Dilemma, for the debate on his moral and wrongdoings. Let's us focus on the Arsenal side. Did we really want him or Higuain? Napoli seem certain to sign Higuain within today or tomorrow, and for some Arsenal fans it was considered as a miss opportunity from the Gunners. We decided to drop out of a cheaper player and put all of our eggs inside one controversy basket. But let's check the facts again. Did we really lose Higuain or Suarez was our target from the very beginning?
A lot of things happened in the month of June and July. I tried to gather data from several news outlet and made a compilation of transfer rumors of Higuain and Suarez in these two months.
01 – In the month of May, Juventus declared interest in Higuain. They're looking for a top striker. On first of June, Higuain came out with a statement: "I've decided to leave Real Madrid."
11 – Arsenal made Higuain enquiry. Report said we're ready to break our transfer record.
20 – Arsenal tabled a £21M bid for Higuain, Juventus couldn't match it, dropped their interest.
24 – Higuain father's comment on the bid said his son might be interested to play in the Premier League
03 – Arsenal increased bid to £23M. Report said Real Madrid asked for higher price, demanded £25.5M.
04- Higuain father said deal were close, Madrid allowed them for negotiation of personal term. Several media confirmed Higuain will fly to London in the next few days. On the same day report of betting suspension of Suarez to Arsenal. Apparently on 3rd July, there were lots of bets put for Suarez to Arsenal transfer.
07 – Arsenal bid £30M + £5M add-on for Suarez
08 – Perez came out saying Real Madrid never received a bid for Higuain.
15 – Liverpool came out in public saying there was an offer from Arsenal for Suarez and that they had rejected it.
16 – Napoli sold Cavani for £54.4M to PSG.
17 – Napoli declared interest in Higuain.
19 – Rumor of Arsenal preparing a second bid of £40M bid for Suarez
22 – Napoli bid for Higuain, bid accepted. Higuain asked time for considering future (probably waiting for Arsenal to come back with improved bid)
23 – Instead of coming back for Higuain, Arsenal submitted a second bid of £40M+£1 for Suarez.
Napoli agreed £31.8M Higuain fee.
24 – Higuain agreed personal term.
So what's your call on this issue after checking the timeline? Did Arsenal lose Higuain or reject Higuain for Suarez?
1. Arsenal have fund to bid in excess of £20M, £30M and even £40M.
2. Higuain was Arsenal first target considering the relative easiness to sign. The player wanted out, Madrid wanted to sell albeit at their own valuation. Suarez was listed but not considered yet due to the high price and probably eventual bidding war with Madrid.
3. Arsenal and Madrid have agreed on £25.5M but Madrid hiked the price to £34.5M (from €30m to €40m according to several sources) after Arsenal's talk with Higuain.
4. Arsenal were clearly disappointed with Madrid unprofessional manner (probably giving them the middle finger). Arsenal might rate Higuain as rotational player to compete with Giroud upfront, but not as the £30M main striker. Wenger said in pre-season tour that the problem with Giroud was not quality but quantity (we have only one striker capable of playing upfront – sorry Theo).
5. To piss off Madrid, Arsenal dropped Higuain interest and went totally for Madrid's target, Luis Suarez. "Why should we settle with your back up striker when we could afford your transfer target?" This might be what Ivan thought of at that heated moment.
6. Ivan consulted Wenger, and Wenger gave an approval. Probably he's more than happy since he rated Suarez very highly. A 30 goals a season striker, someone who can create his own goal, and who could play as LW. Suddenly, we would be provided with more variations of combinations. Wenger was salivating at the prospect of starting Suarez, Giroud and Walcott upfront.
7. Some ITKs heard Wenger and Ivan Gazidis conversation. Cheekily put lots of bets for Suarez to Arsenal. This happened on the 3rd of July. The same day Madrid informed us of the Higuain "new" price. Quick decision on transfer twist was made by Wenger and Gazidis.
8. Poor Higuain a victim of Madrid's greed. Arsenal then bid for Suarez with a opening bid of £30M+£5M add-on, matching what Madrid asked for Higuain. Madrid learned about this new development, got very angry and asked Marca to write about it (Headline translation: Why did this "crazy" Arsenal bid for Suarez rather than increase their bid for Higuain, at our price?). Perez also came out in public saying they never received bid from Arsenal. He was so pissed off that he lied in public for the hundredth time.
9. Liverpool rejected Arsenal first bid. The agents informed Arsenal of the £40M clause. Madrid at the end got what they wanted with around £3M less from cash-rich Napoli. Inflated price for sure, but we can expected that after a mega signing (cue: Liverpool after Torres sale).
10. Arsenal have moved on from Higuain and look confident to secure Suarez with that controversial clause. Helped by his agent, they designed a cheeky £40M+£1 bid. This bid certainly would upset Liverpool management. Probably this was designed for that purpose. To incite uproar in the Liverpool camp. Why? Because Arsenal are not the nice selling club anymore. We're the badass buying club now. Remember how the big boys used to unsettle or tap up our players? We're doing it now to Liverpool, unfortunately.
So what's next? Liverpool certainly were not entertained with our cheeky bid.
For this transfer to happen, Suarez needs to agitate for a move. And we wouldn't bid for him if there was no interest from his side. I think he will pull a "RVP" on Liverpool and Liverpool eventually will succumb. They should learn from our mistake. It's better to let the player leave early and go for his replacements (they could buy more than one player with that money) than doing it at the deadline. We know it's not nice, but that's the thing of we have to get used to for becoming a "buying club".
How about Madrid? IMHO they will go for Bale and they can't afford both. They haven't signed a galacticos while their rival have signed Neymar. But let's wait and see. Arsenal are prepared to finish this war they started until the end of the transfer window. Suarez or none. It's a gamble worth taking just like when United signed Van Pursestring. They waited and waited until the public statement, the agitation, and finally got the only striker they wanted near the end of transfer window (middle of August). And basically we're doing the same thing now. So be patient.
I personally think Suarez will join us in August but he certainly will not do it based on the voice of "little boy" inside of him. He is a monster, rite? He suits this new badass "buying club" Arsenal.
Let me know of your version in the comment sections. Feel free to do it as you wish but let's keep the discussion of racism and morality out of this blog. This post is about guessing Arsenal intention not about talking of moral high ground on football players. We can discuss about it another time.
You always know with Olivier that you will get a guy who fights for the team. Technically it was not one of his best games, but after matches when you measure his performance it is [often] decisive.