Luis Suarez has once again explained how Steven Gerrard stopped him from forcing a move to Arsenal in the summer of 2013.
Liverpool had come off the back of an uninspiring season in 2012/13, which was Brendan Rodgers’ first in charge – and Suarez wanted an exit to play for a team in the Champions League.
Arsenal infamously tried to trigger his release-clause with their hilarious £40m+£1 bid, which JW Henry scoffed at in public – making the Gunners look ridiculous in the process.
Suarez though was initially keen on the transfer, until Gerrard talked him out of it and promised him he’d get a better move one year later.
“We qualified for the UEFA Europa League but the season ended badly,” Suarez told Otro, translated by Sky Sports.
“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.”
Gerrard was spot on, of course.
Suarez enjoyed the most impressive individual season in the history of the Premier League – scoring 31 goals – despite being banned for the first five games.
It almost resulted in a Premier League title, but we couldn’t get over the line, despite superb campaigns from both Gerrard and Suarez – who both walked into the Team of the Year.
Suarez got his move to Barcelona, for whom he’s won countless trophies already, while Gerrard stuck around to watch Rodgers’ decline and moved to LA Galaxy.