Monday, March 28, 2011

Liverpool's Luis Suarez: The Striker That Wenger Should Have Signed for Arsenal

 Liverpool were languishing in mid-table and even the faithful Anfield supporters had thought that this season was destined for another huge failure. However, with the appointment of Kenny Dalglish as manager, it has reinvigorated the club who have enjoyed an excellent run in the Premiership which includes wins over Chelsea and arch-rivals Manchester United.

Even if the club does not secure an Europa league place, the season will be considered a success if Dalglish is appointed as the permanent manager and they fight till the end of the season. One of the new manager's huge decisions was the decision to sell Fernando Torres and bring on board, two quality strikers in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Carroll had an injury which led to a delay in beginning his Liverpool career but Suarez has already been hugely influential for the club. He has had a hand in five goals in as many league matches which shows the impact he has had. Before the signing of Suarez, Liverpool did not have movement in their attacking half due to the lackadaisical performances of Torres and the general inability of some of the players to make creative runs.

However, Suarez has dropped deep and spread the ball well and has provided movement to Liverpool. He has enjoyed an excellent partnership with Kuyt and importantly, established an excellent understanding with Raul Meireles, who has arguably been Liverpool's best player since Dalglish took over at the club.

There will always be questions asked of a striker from  the Dutch league as to whether they can cope with the physicality and pace of the English Premier League. Suarez has dispelled these doubts in his short time at the club and seems destined for a bright career in the Premiership. Damien Comolli and other Liverpool officials should be applauded for their persistent efforts to sign the striker from Ajax while the new owners have provided the necessary funds and support to Liverpool FC.

But one manager, who could be looking at Luis Suarez as a lost opportunity is Arsenal manager Arsene
Wenger, who considers players above £20 million as above the budget for Arsenal. However, the performances of Suarez have highlighted that the gamble would be worth it. Wenger spent close to £10 million for Thierry Henry, which was quite high at that time and the value that they obtained is measured in the trophies that the Gunners won.

Though Arsenal have a quality centre forward in Robin van Persie, the Dutchman has frustratingly missed a number of matches for Arsenal due to unfortunate injuries. Suarez can play as a replacement for Van Persie in times he is injured which is a huge advantage for the Gunners. The problem with signing a quality forward is that he needs to play regularly but with the versatility of Suarez, he could be eased into the team and can play regularly.

Andrei Arshavin has been inconsistent for some parts of the season but is finally capturing his best form. Suarez could have replaced the Russian and could have provided the impetus to the Gunners. With pace, strength, skill and great shooting ability, he is the finished product who could have brought success to the Gunners.

Wenger has commented that he is unable to find players though he has the money but Suarez is one of those players that he should have invested in. Though Liverpool FC is traditionally a great club with a brilliant history, Arsenal FC have a better chance to win trophies in the near future and can offer Champions League football from the outset.

Arsenal could have offloaded the likes of Nicklas Bendtner or Carlos Vela to reduce the cash spent on the transfer since the duo have not been integral to the Gunners this season. While Chamakh has been an excellent signing for the Gunners, he does not possess the quality of Van Persie or Suarez which is why signing Suarez would have been a master-stroke by Wenger.

Tottenham was also interested in signing Suarez but with all due respect to the Spurs, they cannot be called a big club alongside the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal which is one of the reasons why Suarez declined the move. However, Arsenal could have attracted the Uruguayan and they also have former Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen who could have helped him settle at the club.

Despite his recent struggles, Fernando Torres was a great striker for Liverpool but his departure has provided the Anfield faithful with another superb player in Suarez. The moment he jinxed past three Manchester United defenders to set up the goal for Kuyt, a new star had arrived for Liverpool; one that could take them back to the greatness.

While Suarez has influenced Liverpool's surge to the top six, Arsene Wenger will be pondering over a decision which could have brought trophies to the empty trophy cabinet at the Emirates.

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