Arsene Wenger’s main focus has now switched to the controversial Liverpool forward, as the Gunners continue to struggle to agree a fee with Real Madrid for Gonzalo Higuain
By Wayne Veysey | UK correspondent
Arsenal are preparing a €40.7 million offer for wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
The Gunners will make a concerted push to sign the Uruguay international after contacting the Merseyside club last week about his availability.
There were reports on Monday that Arsenal had made a €34.9m bid for Suarez but the the north London outfit are ready to pay up to €40.7m for the Reds attacker.
It is understood that Arsene Wenger has switched his main focus to capturing Suarez because Arsenal are still struggling to agree a fee with Real Madrid for Gonzalo Higuain.
The Gunners do not anticipate making any signings before they depart for their pre-season tour of Asia on Thursday, but they are actively trying recruit a marquee striker.
Suarez is regarded by Wenger as an upgrade on Higuain, who came close to joining Arsenal at the end of last week after they made an improved offer of €26.9m.
However, Madrid are holding out for €29.7m for the Argentine, and, although Arsenal’s interest in Higuain is still alive and a deal has not been ruled out, Wenger has decided to explore other elite options.
With the biggest transfer kitty in Arsenal’s history available to him this summer, the Frenchman sanctioned the shock move for Suarez last week.
The Gunners’ enquiry was met with a ‘hands-off’ warning by Liverpool, who are fighting to hold on to a player who has spoken frequently this summer of his interest in a move, most specifically to Real Madrid.
Arsenal will now make a concerted push for Suarez after learning from the Uruguayan’s camp that he is interested in a move to the Emirates as he pursues his ambition of playing Champions League football next season.
In an interview given to the Uruguayan radio station Sport 890 on Tuesday, Suarez claimed that “two or three clubs” want to sign him and that he values interest from Arsenal.
He laughed off reported interest from Chelsea but admitted he is prepared to interrupt a holiday in his native Uruguay should a potential transfer develop.
“Are there any concrete options? No, so far there hasn’t been any. There are two or three clubs who I think are willing and the club knows that.
“I have to present myself on the July 21 with Liverpool for their tour of Australia but no one knows what could happen. I’ve already said what I have to say, and initially I have to be there on July 21 but maybe a phone call one day can change all your plans.
“For now everything is going well. I am very calm but initially I am meant to present myself on July 21 but, like I said, no one knows what can happen.”
There is understood to be a clause in Suarez’s contract that allows him to ask for permission to speak to other clubs if they make a €46.5m offer. However, Liverpool are believed to want €58m for their prize asset.
Intriguingly, Suarez’s stance on wishing to leave England has appeared to have softened in the wake of the interest from Arsenal and the absence of an official move from Madrid.
“I have to value that; despite everything that’s happened, [English] clubs still value players for what they can do on the field,” he said.
“That makes me think that I can come back and do well over there. It’s good that the English clubs still want me.”
Wenger plans to use a warchest of up to €116m to make at least two marquee signings this summer, most likely in the striker and central midfield positions.
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