/ Soccer

'Productive talks' over Suarez move from Liverpool to Barcelona

Updated: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 10:16 | Comments

Barcelona are hot on Luis Suarez's tail despite his expulsion from World Cup for biting Alexis Sanchez could be offered as a makeweight by Barca in any deal for Suarez
Barcelona are hot on Luis Suarez's tail despite his expulsion from World Cup for biting Alexis Sanchez could be offered as a makeweight by Barca in any deal for Suarez

Audio

Liverpool and Barcelona have held "productive talks" over the potential transfer of striker Luis Suarez, and further discussions are planned.

Liverpool Chief Executive Ian Ayre met officials from the Catalan club as the Primera Division side made their opening move in their attempt to take the Uruguayan international to the Nou Camp.

Initial dialogue appears to have been positive and it is seen as a significant step forward, with another meeting scheduled to take place to continue the negotiations.

"The talks were productive, with sensible expectations on both sides," an Anfield source said.

"Further talks and discussions will take place in due course. Nothing is finalised as of now."

Liverpool were adamant before negotiations began that they would not sell Suarez for less than the value of his confidential buy-out clause, believed to be anywhere between £70million and £80million.

The club are confident after the initial discussions that a deal can be done in line with their valuation.

Barcelona have the option of offering Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez as a makeweight in negotiations.

It is understood at this stage negotiations are taking place considering both options: a straight money deal and also the option of a player-plus-cash alternative.

The latter would seem more likely but that depends on Sanchez, with the suggestion in Spain he is not that keen at this point on a move to England.

Suarez is currently banned for four months for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

However, after the 27-year-old striker's apology - in which Barca are suspected to have had a major influence in procuring - the La Liga side have stepped up their pursuit.

On Tuesday, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta spoke in complimentary tones, suggesting "he has the necessary quality to play for Barca", and the club followed that up with a request for a meeting with Ayre.

At a press conference earlier, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to confirm that talks had opened over Suarez, but hinted that the controversial striker was on the club's agenda.

Bartomeu refused to speak directly about his team's interest in Suarez, but followed Zubizarreta's lead in commending the Uruguayan for his apology to Chiellini.

"I announced months ago that the team would undergo a deep renovation, but we cannot reveal details because we don't want to give clues away to any of our rivals," Bartomeu said.

"Our representatives are constantly travelling to other countries because of potential signings.

"Suarez is a Liverpool player so I can't talk about him, he belongs to another team, a rival team. But we are all football men, and saying sorry is honourable, it helps the competition.

"He did something that wasn't right, so it's the responsibility of everyone in football, be it Liverpool or anywhere else, to remember that he has said sorry. Admitting you have done something wrong is very important."

Elsewhere, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has praised Suarez after he apologised for biting Chiellini.

It took the forward nearly a week to confess that he had bitten his opponent, after protesting his innocence when the furore surrounding the incident first broke.

"He said 'I'm sorry' to the soccer family, and that's fair play too," Blatter told reporters at an event in Rio de Janeiro.

"That shows he's a great player and I hope he can have his soccer career back."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip