LUIS SUAREZ’S move to Barcelona has taken a significant step forward after a day of “productive” negotiations between Liverpool and the Spanish giants established a deal can be brokered for the striker.
Barcelona accepted Liverpool will not sell the Uruguay international on the cheap despite his four month worldwide ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup but remain intent on signing Suarez.
Further discussions will now continue but an agreement on a transfer worth somewhere between £70m-£80m is edging closer following yesterday’s top level talks in London.
There are now two ways in which an accord will be reached over Suarez’s departure.
Liverpool want Alexis Sanchez to be included as a makeweight and hope to persuade the Chile attacker to move to Anfield.
But if he rejects the interest there is scope for a straight cash deal to be hammered out, the payment terms and conditions of which are still to be debated between the clubs.
Yet Barcelona’s determination to land Suarez means his exit from English football now feels inevitable and a Liverpool source said last night: “The talks were productive.
“There were sensible expectations on both sides. Further talks and discussions are to take place. Nothing has been finalised as of now.”
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre headed to the capital after a request for a face-to-face meeting from Barcelona’s football director, Raul Sanllehi and economic manager, Antoni Rossich.
Barcelona have prepared a five-year contract for Suarez worth around £10m-a-year and want to team him up with Lionel Messi and Neymar in a forward line to rival the Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale triumvirate of Real Madrid.
Nou Camp officials are currently negotiating a new sponsorship deal with Middle Eastern oil giants and are prepared to take out a bank loan to pay for Suarez until the windfall comes through.
In the meantime, their public praising of the player continued with Barcelona president Josep-Maria Bartomeu claiming Suarez’s public apology to Chiellini was a “credit” to him.
“He plays for a rival team,” said Bartomeu. “But what I can say, as a football person, is that apologising has been to his credit, because when you make a mistake you should apologise.
“It is good what he has done, because it helps football.
“It is the responsibility of all of us that Luis Suarez, at Liverpool or wherever he wants to be, continues his career. To admit errors is an important step.”