Suarez: I never said I was staying at Liverpool
Luis Suarez has denied reports quoting him as saying that he has decided to stay at Liverpool.
On Wednesday morning a Uruguayan newspaper quoted Suarez stating categorically that "I will be staying" at Liverpool.
But after Uruguay's 4-2 friendly win against Japan in Tokyo - in which Suarez scored - the Reds front man denied saying any such thing, and suggested that someone had made up quotes in his name.
"I didn't say that, maybe someone else did," Japan's Kyodo News agency quoted him as saying. "The main thing is that I am here now with the national team," he added.
If the latest quotes are indeed accurate - and Kyodo is a huge agency with over 1,000 journalists on its staff - it's an incredible twist in the summer's bitterest transfer saga.
Earlier in the day Suarez's pledge to stay had been reported as a significant fillip to Liverpool, who had been insistent all summer that the forward will not be sold at any price.
"For now, because of all the affection of the people, I will be staying," Suarez had reportedly told El Observador in quotes that may now appear to be false.
It now seems that the saga is likely to drag on all summer, with Suarez's anger at the Reds fuelled by a claim that the club had broken a "gentleman's agreement" that he could leave after their failure to secure Champions League qualification.
Suarez's words were met with a stern response from Liverpool with manager Brendan Rodgers stating that the striker would have to apologise to his club and team-mates if he wanted to be welcomed back into the squad.
"Initially there will be an apology to his team-mates and the club, then a recognition that he is ready to fight for the club," Rodgers told reporters after Liverpool had lost to Celtic in their final pre-season friendly in Dublin on last Saturday.
Ahe apology has yet to be forthcoming and now looks as if it will never come. Suarez’s apparent decision to put on record his desire to remain at the club had been portrayed as a first step in the rehabilitation process, but now it seems there will be no kissing and making up after all.
There is still mystery surrounding the course of events, however. The original report came from respected South American journalist Martin Charquero, who had tweeted to say Suarez had informed him he would not be leaving Liverpool. The striker had then apparently seemed to go public when speaking to El Observador, but the veracity of the story is now in serious doubt.
Suarez’s continuing reluctance to stay will continue to present a significant problem for Reds owner John W Henry.
As the Uruguayan's relationship with Liverpool has deteriorated rapidly over recent weeks, American Henry has been adamant Suarez would not be sold to Arsenal - despite their bid of £40,000,001 on July 24 that the player and the London club thought triggered a clause that meant the Reds had to negotiate.
Henry’s original reaction to the bid was one of incredulity:
But as Arsenal's interest intensified, he took a more serious tone.
“We are not going to sell Luis. It’s a football reason, it’s not about finances," Henry said.
“It’s because at this point it’s impossible, so late in the window, with everyone who’s already moved or isn’t moving, to replace him. So for football reasons, we can’t - and especially to Arsenal.
“For all the top clubs it’s extremely important but especially Liverpool because we’re not in Europe this year and have not been in the Champions League for a while.
“Obviously, to sell to a rival for one of those positions would be ludicrous.”
Such was the Uruguayan's determination to leave Anfield it was thought he was willing to take some form of legal redress to push the move through but that stance was dealt a near fatal blow when PFA chairman Gordon Taylor said it was "practically impossible" for Suarez to leave Liverpool this month - an outcome the player has still not accepted.