Jamie Carragher believes not signing Luis Suarez is the biggest mistake of Arsene Wenger’s 20-year Arsenal career, with the Liverpool legend suggesting we would have won two of the last three Premier League titles with the Uruguayan in our side, according to his Daily Mail column.
Wenger made the infamous £40m and £1 bid back in 2013, which infuriated Liverpool who refused to do business with us regarding Suarez. The reports suggest there was a clause in the Barcelona star’s contract that should have forced Liverpool into accepting, but obviously it wasn’t enforced and we consequently missed out on what could have proved one of our greatest ever signings.
Carragher certainly believes missing out on Suarez is Wenger’s biggest mistake, and given his current form in La Liga it’s hard to disagree.
“When Arsene Wenger looks back, how much do you think he regrets that £1?” he wrote.
“In July 2013, when Arsenal were pursuing Luis Suarez, how different would things have been had they made Liverpool a proper offer?
“Wenger and Arsenal were under the impression, remember, that a bid of more than £40million would take Suarez away from Liverpool but they took that to the extreme. By putting just £1 above the fee they thought would trigger a deal, it ensured business would never get done.
“I thought about that situation this week, first when I heard Suarez had spectacularly revived Barcelona’s quest to win La Liga and then as I watched Arsenal beat West Bromwich. As Suarez was scoring four to pursue another medal, Wenger’s team were fighting to stay in the top four.
“If you look back at Wenger’s 20 years in English football, there are so many highlights, but that day in July 2013, with the bid that enraged Liverpool, cannot be ignored. Not signing Suarez is the biggest mistake of Wenger’s reign.
“Had Arsenal pushed the boundaries for Suarez, perhaps with an offer of £50m, I believe they would have won the Barclays Premier League in two of the last three seasons. That’s the thing about Suarez: whichever team he plays for, he drags them to a higher level.”
While missing out on Suarez will unquestionably be a painful memory for Wenger, there’s no telling whether a slightly bigger bid would have even done any good. If Liverpool really did just ignore the clause in the controversial forward’s contract that would have allowed him to leave, then who’s to say they wouldn’t have done the same thing with a bid of £45m, £50m, or even more.
The Reds may have just been determined not to sell their star striker to a Premier League rival, no matter the fee. Hindsight is 20-20, but if Wenger was told a bid of £40m and £1 would get him Suarez, then why would he offer more?
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It’s disappointing to think about how good we could have been with Suarez in the team, but instead of wallowing we need to focus on trying to find our own star striker to lead us to the title next season.