Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes striker Luis Suarez owes a debt of loyalty to the fans after they – and the club – stood by him during difficult times.
The Uruguay international has been banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and then 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Even though his actions were condemned the supporters, they have given nothing but their 100 per cent backing and Rodgers believes the striker should consider that as he ponders manufacturing a move away this summer.
The club yesterday rejected a second bid from Arsenal, worth a total of £40m plus £1, but it appears the saga will rumble on for some time.
“There’s no doubt the market nowadays is very small and Luis will always be linked with top clubs,” Rodgers said.
“But I think the support he’s received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled.
“In the period of time he’s missed a lot of games for various reasons and the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him.
“So I’m sure that whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be on his mind because it’s certainly something you can never forget.”
The sum of Arsenal’s bid met the requirements of a clause in Suarez’s contract which said the club had to inform the player if an offer of £40million was made.
Suarez and his representatives may yet argue that are now in a position to negotiate with the Gunners but Liverpool will reject that assumption.
However, agent Pere Guardiola told them both earlier this month the player wants to play Champions League football and, as that cannot change for at least another 12 months, the prospects of holding onto the 26-year-old appear slim.
Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre will hold further discussions with Suarez as the tour moves to Thailand ahead of their third and final match of the trip in Bangkok on Sunday.
Liverpool owner John Henry appears to have no intention of selling to Arsenal - or anyone else – on the cheap, if indeed at all.
The American, the principal figure in Fenway Sports Group, appeared to dismiss the Gunners’ offer in flippant fashion in a single dismissive tweet.
His “What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates” message was written on his Twitter account just after 2am local time in Boston.
While it may seem out of character – club officials have not been able to verify it was sent by Henry himself – it undoubtedly reflects the stance of the club, who insist Suarez is not for sale and even if he was he is valued at much more.
Press Association Sport understands when Arsenal made their first approach of £30m over a fortnight ago they were told by Liverpool then that they would not entertain selling their prize asset even for £40m.
The Londoners’ response seems designed to test their resilience and the player’s desire to force through a move.