Leeds can learn from Steven Gerrard’s Luis Suarez chat at Liverpool as attempt to fend off Arsenal interest in Raphinha June 27, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Leeds can take a leaf out of Liverpool’s book as they aim to keep hold of their prized asset Raphinha this summer.
The Brazil international continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal, as the Gunners look to bolster their forward line ahead of the new season.
Raphinha netted 11 goals last campaign for a relegation-threatened Leeds side, and was a standout performer at Elland Road.
The Athletic reported last week that the Gunners’ first bid for the 25-year-old was turned down by the west Yorkshire side.
Mikel Arteta’s men are, however, widely expected to return with an improved offer in the coming days, with a meeting scheduled for next week.
They could opt to follow the same path as Liverpool did when the Gunners tried to sign Luis Suarez back in 2013, though.
Arsenal had famously bid £40million and £1 for the striker nine years ago, which was instantly turned down by the Merseyside giants.
At the time, prolific Uruguayan striker Suarez was keen to force through a move to the Emirates Stadium, but revealed how Steven Gerrard persuaded him to snub Arsenal’s advances.
Speaking to Otro, Suarez said: “We qualified for the UEFA Europa League but the season ended badly.
“I’m about to go to Arsenal, forcing myself to go, and Steven tells me ‘I promise that if you stay this year you’re going to take off and next year you’ll go to Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid or whichever one you want, but stay this year because you won’t be better off at Arsenal’.
“This was the last conversation I had with Gerrard at that moment and I told my agent that I had made my decision and I was staying.
“His words convinced me in that moment. They came from a person who cared for me, who wanted my well-being, who saw me suffer during training and saw me sad.
“They were words from a true captain that had an impact in that moment and helped me a lot.”
Suarez went on to have a stellar 2013/14 season, netting 31 goals in the Premier League, and went on to win the PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year awards.
Signing for Barcelona that summer in a £65million deal, the prolific goalscorer never looked back and eventually got the move he had previously wished for.
Leeds fans will be hoping Raphinha does the same, and snubs Arsenal to remain in Yorkshire for at least another season.
Manager Jesse Marsch and the rest of his playing staff will no doubt be trying to persuade the player to stay put.
Should it happen, then Raphinha could go on to have an even better campaign than he did last.
And, like Suarez, waiting until next summer could see him earn a move to Barcelona.
Tottenham and Chelsea remain keen, but the Brazilian has previously claimed a move to Catalonia would be a ‘dream’, despite the club’s their financial struggles, which has left any move hanging in the balance.
Barca were seemingly banking on Leeds’ relegation from the top-flight, which would have triggered a £21million relegation clause in his contract.
But the Whites’ successful survival bid blew Barcelona’s plans apart and now they will have to pay upwards of £65m to sign him.
According to Spanish newspaper SPORT, Raphinha’s agent Deco recently met with Barca chiefs to discuss a move.
If they were to satisfy Leeds’ valuation, he would be willing to seal a switch to Camp Nou over a Premier League move.
Raphinha has been coy when asked about his future at Elland Road.
“I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds,” he previously said whilst on international duty.
“I have my mind set on the national team, on the game and also on my vacations. I have a contract with Leeds and this issue is resolved by my agent. When there is something, he will tell me.”
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