Steven Gerrard has revealed he told Luis Suarez he was too good to join Arsenal when the North Londoners bid for him last summer.
Arsenal believed they had met a release clause in Suarez’s Anfield contract when they bid £40,000,001 last summer, but Liverpool rejected the offer and Suarez’s goals instead took Liverpool close to the Premier League title.
Gerrard understood that Suarez still had ambitions to leave, but proved right in his prediction that he could earn himself a move to Spanish giants Barcelona with an outstanding final season at Anfield – with Barca having paid £75m for his services this summer despite the four-month ban he received for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
“Last summer, when Luis was out in the cold, I told him: ’Don’t go to Arsenal’,” Gerrard told several national newspapers.
“With all due respect to them, I told him he was too good for Arsenal.
“Luis’ dream, from the first day he came to us, was to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. I said: ’If you score 30 goals for us and win the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year, they will come back for you.’
“I thought for his own sake, and to get our fans’ respect, he had to give us at least one more year.”
Suarez, 27, hit 31 goals last season, but Liverpool were pipped to the post by Manchester City in the title race.
Having rehabilitated his image in the wake of his bite on Chelsea’ Branislav Ivanovic in April 2013, Suarez was then guilty of biting Italy defender Chiellini in Brazil – the third such incident in his career – to be hit with a huge ban by FIFA.
With the feeling growing that Liverpool had to cut their losses on the talented by controversial striker, Barca’s offer was too good to refuse.
“You can’t begrudge him his dream, leaving for Barca,” Gerrard added.
“But I’d have been disappointed if he had left for Arsenal.”
The Gunners have arguably benefited from Suarez’s switch to the Nou Camp anyway, signing Alexis Sanchez who became surplus to requirements after the Uruguayan’s arrival.
Liverpool continued their preparations for the new season by beating champions Manchester City on penalties at the International Champions Cup in New York.
The match finished 2-2 in normal time, with Stevan Jovetic scoring twice for City, first cancelled out by Jordan Henderson and then by Raheem Sterling.
That sent the match to spot-kicks and Liverpool prevailed 3-1.