The number 10 has assumed special significance around Merseyside in the last one week. That is precisely the number of games that Liverpool are going to have to do without Luis Suarez, their star man. If things work out a certain way, the Anfield club may very well have to do without their Uruguayan striker for the rest of the club’s future.
The moment the FA announced the 10-game ban for Luis Suarez’s attempt to bite off a sizeable chunk of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm when Liverpool hosted Chelsea, reactions have been split down the middle on the duration of the ban. Personally, 10 games is harsh in my opinion, because we are not dealing with a situation that could have involved a career-threatening injury. A six-game ban would have been just about right.
Many have questioned the maturity levels of a player who has had his fair share of tribulations on the football field. An attempt to sink his teeth into a fellow professional footballer has brought about widespread condemnation from former players, his manager and football fans alike. What could potentially trigger such an act of petty violence in the mind of a 26-year old lethal striker?
How about a move away from Liverpool?
Yes, you heard that right! What if the entire episode was a planned act of insolence aimed at ensuring that Luis Suarez would no longer be at Anfield come next season?
Plenty would gawk at that theory, stating that footballers and their powerful agents while definitely seeking out better contracts would never resort to such an act to get a transfer done. But, a friend of mine and me were discussing the incident and he seemed to suggest that there was more to it than meets the eye. So before you shoot it down, here are a few reasons to consider exactly why such a conspiracy theory may very well be in place:
• Liverpool are not going to be in the UEFA Champions League next season. That is a huge blow for a player of Suarez’s calibre. At 26, he is in the prime of his career and he would definitely like the chance to play against the best in the continent.
• The Uruguayan on 7th August, 2012 signed a new long-term contract with the club, and as it is with long-term contracts, slaps a huge transfer fee on the players’ head.
• A few clubs, notably Juventus and Bayern Munich showed an interest in signing Suarez and Liverpool swiftly declined to do business. The new contract was part of the effort to keep hold of their gem.
• ‘Pere’ Guardiola. Yes, he is related to the famous Barcelona player and manager. He also happens to be one of the most powerful football agents around and a certain Luis Suarez is part of his clientele.
• As you know, ‘Pep’ will be taking over as manager of Bayern Munich from next season onwards. Mario Gomez has already seen the ‘For Sale’ sign hung around his neck; the reason is that Guardiola is not an admirer of the German forward.
• The 2 strikers who Guardiola has his eye on as replacements are – Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund.
• Punishments for such offences are generally no less than 3 games and range anywhere between 4-10 games, essentially meaning that Suarez would play no further part this season and would also sit out the initial few games of next season.
• The player in question is usually shipped out either on loan or permanently, as was the case with Joey Barton because the ban is applicable only in the particular country.
• It also reduces the demands that Liverpool can make, in terms of transfer fees, with potential suitors.
• Suarez is incredibly well loved by the Anfield faithful. In spite of the many controversies surrounding him, the fans have been very supportive of the striker and even after the Ivanovic incident, backed him to come back stronger than ever.
• Former Liverpool players have come out and made a case for him to be sold at any cost in order to cut the club’s growing losses in the PR space thanks to him.
• The PR pressure forces Liverpool’s hand, and Suarez departs on good terms with fans believing that it was the controversies that saw him leave.
• It’s a win-win for all as the player gets his desired move without so much as making a transfer request or publicly stating his desire to leave, which would alienate the fans. Liverpool get the money which they can use to invest in the club.
• This has happened before. When Suarez bit into the shoulder of Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax, he received a 7-match ban from the ban which was used to his advantage to secure a big money move to Liverpool.
What all of this does, is smoothen out the path to Suarez’s exit. It appears somewhat hard to digest that someone with a history like Suarez’s would not know the consequences of such an act. The bite was apparently in response to some ‘pushy’ treatment that he received from the Serbian. However, if one were to note, the bite does somewhat come totally out of the blue and not in retaliation. A pre-meditated look about it, it bears.
Of course, I could be totally wrong and perhaps it is just a figment of my imagination!
Only time and Luis Suarez himself can tell.
DISCLAIMER – This article represents the views of the author, and not those of the site.