Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal had agreed personal terms with Luis Suarez in 2013 prior to contacting Liverpool with their infamous £40,000,001.
The opportunistic attempt to sign the Uruguayan striker was met with disdain by the Anfield hierarchy at the time, particularly by owner John Henry who gleefully tweeted, “What are they smoking over there at the Emirates?”
Having been persuaded to stay at the Reds for one further season Suarez eventually agreed to join Barcelona. Having also missed out on Gonzalo Higuain, Arsenal settled on signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid just before transfer deadline day.
“He was very close (to signing for Arsenal),” Wenger told beIN Sport when asked about the saga during the Interlull.
“We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him.
“I’m convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad.”
Wenger also touched on why he was prepared to spend big money on a player who was so regularly caught up in controversy, including bans for biting and racist abuse.
“It’s not normal,” reflected the Frenchman. “You cannot accept that. He had some behaviours that were shocking but I think as well you don’t see them anymore since two, three years.
“He got rid of all the things that were a handicap for him and today you don’t see that anymore. He’s still on borderline with what the strikers do well, you know, go down in the penalty box but you want that from an intelligent striker.
“Overall I think he got rid of all the rest and rightly so and he deserved to be punished before and now you don’t even expect it anymore from him.”