Manchester City will launch an audacious £40million bid for Luis Suarez in January.
Report by DailyMirror
Premier League champions City are ready to offer a massive show of strength in the title race with a stunning attempt to prise away Liverpool’s main asset.
They will, of course, face stiff resistance from the Reds, who know that losing their talismanic striker would be a body blow.
But City manager Roberto Mancini wants to make a statement of intent as he looks to reinforce his position at the club, amid suggestions that he now needs to win the title again to keep his job.
Mancini will start that process by allowing controversial striker Mario Balotelli to leave when the transfer window opens in January, and he will immediately attempt to invest those funds in Suarez.
The Italian boss has already sounded out Atletico Madrid over their highly rated striker Radamel Falcao, who has a £48m release clause in his contract.
But the Colombian superstar has hinted he would prefer a move to Chelsea.
So Mancini will instead attempt to shore up his increasingly precarious position with a move for Suarez, even though he knows Liverpool will fight to keep him.
Liverpool paid Ajax £24m for the striker, who has carried the team almost single-handedly this season, in January 2011, and if the money on the table gets towards double that figure they would have difficulty turning it down.
Realistically, City will open the bidding at around the £40m mark, but that will represent merely the opening skirmishes, and if the Manchester club’s power brokers decide to back their manager, then the figure is more likely to rise towards £50m.
That is the fee that Chelsea eventually paid for Fernando Torres when they snatched him from Liverpool in the same transfer window that took Suarez to Anfield, and a profit of £26m would give first-year Reds boss Brendan Rodgers the funds he needs to rebuild the squad.
Rodgers has admitted that he requires at least three or four new faces to turn Liverpool around.
Selling Suarez, hailed by Kop team-mate Jamie Carragher this week as the Prem’s best player, would give him the finance to do that — although he would need to balance any sale of the Uruguayan against the massive impact it would have on his team.
Liverpool’s position in any negotiations will be strengthened by the fact that Suarez only signed a new four-year contract in August, taking his salary to £120 000 but City could comfortably extend that deal.
Rodgers desperately needs more striking options — Suarez is the only fit senior striker at the club, after Andy Carroll was loaned to West Ham for the season and Fabio Borini was injured last month, but has responded by becoming the Premier League’s top scorer.
The striker himself has told Rodgers he wants to stay at Liverpool long term, and when he signed a new deal last summer he explained to the Anfield faithful: “I hope to play for many years here. This is a great team and everyone around the world knows Liverpool.”
Yet City can not only offer him a huge pay increase, they can also provide an instant battle for honours as they prepare to slug it out with Manchester United and Chelsea in the title race.
Balotelli has said he wants to stay at Eastlands, but he seems to have finally snapped the patience of his manager after being caught partying late at night before Sunday’s game against Spurs.
Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain will be interested in a player who was a big hit at last summer’s European Championship.
Liverpool know the only way they can sell Suarez — after facing a fan backlash when Torres left 22 months ago — would be to sign a ready-made replacement, just as they did when they brought the South American in by spending the Chelsea money.