Luis Suarez has revealed he was keen on making a controversial move to Arsenal from Liverpool in 2012 but he was convinced to stay at the club by Brendan Rodgers.
The Atletico Madrid forward was into his third season at Liverpool when Arsenal – believing that the striker had a £40m release clause in his contract- bid £1 over that figure as they thought it would activate the clause.
The Gunners had already sounded Suarez out over a move to the Emirates and they only made the bid after the forward had told the club that he wanted to join Arsene Wenger’s side.
Suarez ended up staying at Anfield after Liverpool reacted angrily to Arsenal’s bid, with John Henry famously querying: ‘What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?’ after the offer.
Suarez admits he did want to move to the Gunners but he was persuaded to stay with the Reds because of Brendan Rodgers.
‘I think I’d been at Liverpool for a year and a half when Brendan [Rodgers] took charge in July 2012,’ Suarez told UEFA.com.
‘Back then, I had opportunities to sign for other clubs who were getting in contact with me, but he phoned me when I was in Uruguay on holiday, to tell me that he had another way of thinking, that he wanted to change the club and its philosophy, that he wanted the club to get back in the Champions League and fight to win big trophies, that he was going to make the team play great football.
‘He asked me to believe and trust him. I enjoyed that chat.
‘I liked his conviction, the philosophy he wanted to implement at the club, so I talked to my agent and the club to say that I didn’t want to leave, that I wanted another opportunity to be successful at Liverpool.
‘That year wasn’t as good as we wanted, but ideas were already pretty clear. So then the 2012-13 season goes by, and I wanted to sign for Arsenal, since Arsenal had played in the Champions League every season prior to that.’
Suarez would spend a further season at Liverpool and he nearly inspired the Reds to the league title, which they agonisingly missed out on on the final day to Manchester City.
The forward joined Barcelona that summer for a fee worth around £75m and he spent six years at the Camp Nou, before joining Atletico Madrid in 2020.
Suarez wanted to stay at the club but was forced out by Ronald Koeman.
He did, however, get his revenge when he inspired Diego Simeone’s side to the La Liga title.