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Luis Suarez lacks the ingredient to be an Arsenal player

5.14K   //    13 Jul 2013, 18:34 IST
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Luis Suarez

Let’s make one thing clear: Suarez is a very gifted footballer, capable of scoring many, many goals. However, there’s more to being a Gunner, at least in my mind.

So breathless has been the talk of Arsenal signing Luis Suarez that I worry we’ve lost sight of what really matters. I’m talking about class and about quality. Yes, he was in remarkable form last year and has shown that this is probably more than a one-off kind of year; he’ll probably go on to score 20 league goals next year wherever he is. However, I don’t want him. There. I said it. Before you unleash your tirade, hear me out.

When I think of why I love this club, I think of class, quality, and aesthetics. I want caviar again. I want my mind and heart to scroll through names that will stir my blood and grow goosebumps all down my arms, making me shiver in the moment and again in the memories those moments evoke.

I’ll admit that Suarez is capable of creating those moments; he’s done it for Liverpool and he’s done it for Uruguay and he did it for Ajax. However, I’m still not convinced that he has the ingredients to play for Arsenal.

After all, when I think back on more glorious days and venerated names—and I’ll admit that some of this is probably down to myopia or ahistoric amnesia—those memories are devoid of any unpleasantries.

In the recesses of my mind, I’m sure there are instances that I’m not proud of, that Henry or Bergkamp or Adams got away with something, but those feel like little, lurking moments that can safely and legitimately be swept away by the passage of time, dwarfed as they are by the larger canvas of accomplishments that each player has created.

Now, I know that footballers are not called on to be saints, whether they play for Arsenal or anywhere else, but we do claim to play by certain value.

Speaking in Jakarta the other day, Arsène said, “I still believe that, even if we are in a stronger financial position, all of our values still have to be the same.”

He went on to focus on developing young players (which is still important), but he also admitted that “for years, we were out of the race for the top-level transfers, but we are coming back now”. When it comes to statistics, it’s hard to argue against Suarez being a top-level transfer. He scored 23 league goals and might have won the Golden Boot if he hadn’t bit Ivanovic.

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Jon Shay has been an Arsenal fan since he as about seven years old, discovering the club on late-night cable tv. Growing up in football-challenged United States meant that he couldn't actually see an Arsenal match with his own eyes until 2008, but he's followed the club closely through thick and thin before deciding to start writing in early 2013.
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