Suarez – A Bullet Dodged For Arsenal
After a long and arduous drive across the country I arrived home yesterday hoping to catch some of the Italy vs Uruguay game. Having unpacked the car I sunk into my sofa and switched on the TV to see Luis Suarez take a bite out of Chiellini’s shoulder. I sat with my jaw agape for what felt like an inordinate but appropriate length of time in utter shock.
Was this because I couldn’t believe what Suarez had done or because I was surprised that I naively expected better of Suarez? I still haven’t worked it out.
Watching the replays and the post match commentary complete with clips of previous bites by Suarez got me thinking that Arsenal dodged a bullet last season when they failed to wrench him from the cloying and grasp of the obstinate John W. Henry.
I’m certain that many Liverpool fans or indeed any non-Arsenal supporters who have found their way to this post will be proclaiming I’m just bitter and will have skipped the rest of this post to jump face first into the comments to tell me how bitter I am.
I should state that I am not bitter. Last summer I was desperate for Arsenal to strike a deal for Suarez because we needed a World Class striker and he is such a player. I was even willing to look beyond his past indiscretions and chant his name along with the rest of the Gunners squad. It was mooted that he had turned a corner, mentality wise, and his performances for Liverpool last season seemed to be evidence of that.
For all intents and purposes he was a model professional last season. Quiet off the pitch but obstreperous in his effectiveness and impact on the pitch. It would be incongruous to suggest he single-handedly led Liverpool’s title challenge but even the most blinkered Liverpool fan would agree their fortunes would have been much less so without his contribution and possibly would have seen Arsenal as easy double winners had we managed to snare him.
He is very much the player Arsenal needed, and still need, but his playing ability seems to be irremovable from his inner lunatic. If you take the lunatic out of him is he still the same player? His performance last season suggested so but his ridiculous penchant for biting opponents reared its ugly head at the World Cup as if to say “fooled you f*ckers, you’re never getting rid of me”.
I think Arsenal dodged a bullet when they failed to purchase him last summer, admittedly it was not something they wanted to do, in fact they wanted that bullet to pass straight through them, ricochet off a nearby lamppost and embed itself deep into their shoulder blade. Sadly, I believe had they taken that bullet it would have been a gut shot.
Suarez’s seeming inability to remove his psychotic urges from his undoubted playing ability makes him a huge risk for any club. Had Arsenal bought him I think it is fair to suggest they would have come much closer to or probably even won the league last season and this summer would be facing a huge conundrum.
Arsenal could not afford to have a player so erratic on their books and after a third incident of biting would probably look to sell – and mental or not, Suarez will always have affluent admirers – but would find themselves in the impossible position of appeasing the fans who won’t want to see their top striker leave the club and finding a suitable replacement to help defend the title. How can you sell a striker at the peak of his powers who has just won you some trophies after just one year? And how can you justify keeping a player that is always at risk of being banned for 25-50% of a season because he can’t stop biting people like a three year old at Nursery School hyped up on sugar and bad discipline?
There’s something paradoxical about dodging the bullet because in the theory of causality and the butterfly effect suggests that by moving to Arsenal last summer the course of Suarez’s destiny would have changed and he may not have bitten Chiellini yesterday. However, by biting an opponent for the third time in his career (that we know of) he proves that the propensity is always there and thus the threat of a subsequent ban is always there.
And in the changed destiny Suarez may have bitten a player whilst wearing an Arsenal shirt which would have been immeasurably worse as it is still unclear as to whether or not his actions yesterday will affect his ability to play domestic football.
Extreme talent usually goes hand in hand with extreme personalities and every genius will have his flaws but I think Suarez’s would be a burden too great for a club like Arsenal. A player like Balotelli will always court controversy with his actions, attitude and off-field antics but at least he doesn’t bite people.
Liverpool are a club of great stature with fantastic history and I believe they only put up with Suarez because he is such a valuable asset but I’m quite confident that they would never have bought him if what has gone on since during his Liverpool career had happened whilst he was in the Netherlands.
I could easily see Liverpool selling him the summer and talent aside, I think Arsenal are lucky that bridge was burnt a long time ago.
Liverpool may well look to keep him at the club this summer, as is their prerogative, and I wouldn’t blame them if they did because he is such a talent but there comes a time when a players actions can no longer be counter-balanced with their talent and youthfulness, naivety or mother-culture can be used as excuses.
Three bites, a reputation for diving (warranted or not) and a racism scandal is more than any one player is worth in my opinion.
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