This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
“If Arsenal want the player, then they have to produce the value for the player.” Those were the words of Brendan Rodgers as Arsenal tried – and failed – to bring in Luis Suarez during the summer of 2013.
Of course, the Gunners begged to differ on that matter – and sent Liverpool a bid that would exceed what they believed was the striker’s release clause of £40m, by chucking in an extra quid.
According to the Guardian, the £40m threshold was merely a mark upon which Liverpool were forced to negotiate a deal, rather than sell Suarez – who had insisted in an interview with the newspaper: “I’m 26. I need to be playing in the Champions League. I waited one year and no one can say that I did not give everything possible with my teammates last season to get us there.
“My priority is Champions League football. This is about me doing what is right for my career at this moment in time.”
With Liverpool finishing in seventh place in 2012/13 (some 12 points off fourth-placed Arsenal), it seems that Suarez had his heart set on an Anfield exit.
What transpired in the coming months was a big move from the Gunners – and although the arrival of their £42.4m record signing Mesut Ozil heralded a new era as Arsenal ended their wait for a major trophy, the league title has continued to elude them – with Suarez ironically going closer that following season after staying with eventual runners-up Liverpool.
Once the Uruguayan was picked up by Barcelona for £75m the following summer, it was clear that Arsenal had missed their chance. And despite a hat-trick of FA Cups since, it could be argued that not only did the opportunity of a 31-goal Luis Suarez escape the Gunners’ clutches, but so did the league title in the process.
Let’s not forget that, albeit with Ozil’s contribution, Arsenal had a right go at the Premier League title that year – topping the table for 128 days throughout the season – though Aaron Ramsey was arguably the star of that campaign for the Gunners.
And with Ozil now not even deemed worthy of warming the Arsenal bench by Unai Emery, as Suarez searches for a fifth Spanish league title in six years, perhaps hindsight points towards Arsenal going all-out for the striker to secure the title in 2013/14 – which has now not been won in their last 15 attempts.
Arsenal fans, do you regret not buying Suarez in 2013? Would he have delivered more success to the club than Ozil has? Join the discussion by commenting below!
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