“What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates?” Henry asked.
To which the only answer is: whatever it may be it is a lot less powerful than what was in Henry’s pipe when he paid £35million for Andy Carroll. Now that was stuff with some illusionary effect.
As it happens, the bid from the Emirates was not a bit of weed-inspired whimsy. Rather it was a clever little opening of negotiation. If there is a release clause which requires Liverpool open discussions on a sale of the Uruguayan, then why not prise it open. Get them to discuss a deal. Put a bit of heft in your cheek.
And what a buy Suarez would be for the Gunners, filling that sizeable Van Persie sized hole which so debilitated them last season. This is a player perfectly adapted to the lone striker role in front of a rapid, swiftly inter-changing midfield trio; a player apparently tailor-made for Arsene Wenger’s preferred system.
A shame, then, that it also appears to be a deal about as likely to go through as Gareth Bale turning out for Fulham in the new season. Even if they reluctantly accept that their prize asset wants out of Anfield, Liverpool are simply not going to sell him to such a close competitor. Why cede the one advantage you have to your immediate rivals? It makes no competitive or commercial sense.
What is more interesting about the bid, however, is this: how did Arsenal know that a £40million plus offer would trigger the player’s contractual release clause? Was it educated guess work? Was it, as Henry implies, the result of a little bit too much ingestion of stimulants? Or could it be that they were tipped off by someone who knows the inside details of the contract? You know, someone like an agent craftily seeking to engineer a move.
Suarez’s people have form for this sort of thing. It was a trigger clause that lubricated his move from Groninghen, who he had joined as a 19 year old, to Ajax. Presumably when they made a bid that obliged their rivals to open discussions, Ajax’s board had not been spending a little too much time in the cafes of downtown Amsterdam. They were acting on inside information.
This time, though, the Arsenal offer may not be so straight forward. Suarez’s agent has clearly been given the go-ahead from his client to get the ball rolling. But the player might have a different destination in mind from the club which was first to bite.
Maybe, in his keenness to get things sorted quickly, this has been initiated by an agent who realises that if one club can be persuaded to issue a smoke-em-out offer, then the clubs he really wants to do business with might quickly be encouraged to get down to the negotiating table.
And there is no doubt where the player and his representatives want to head. Real Madrid is clearly the destination for every Spanish speaking footballer with ambition – just as it is for plenty more.
And if they were reluctantly reconciled to losing the forward, then Madrid is a destination that would suit his current employers far more than London.
That is a deal with every chance of reaching a conclusion. But it does – of course - require the Spanish club to make an offer. Having Arsenal so boldly open negotiations might be the spur required to rev up a response. What Henry may have soon to acknowledge is that the bid from the Emirates, even if he does not end up there, has increased the chances that Luis Suarez will be heading away from Anfield before the start of the season.
Just a pity for Arsenal that it may well transpire that they have been duped into acting as a stalking horse for someone else’s ambitions.