Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has this morning confirmed that former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard persuaded him against joining Arsenal, during his time at Anfield.
Uruguayan hitman Suarez enjoyed a prolific 2-and-a-half year stint with Liverpool, between 2011 and 2014.
The now 32-year-old racked up 82 goals in just 133 outings for the Reds, cementing himself as one of the finest attackers in the history of the Premier League.
However, despite his individual brilliance, Suarez managed to lift just a solitary trophy during his Liverpool spell, in the form of the 2011-12 League Cup.
And the disappointing nature of his second season on Merseyside, a campaign which resulted in the Reds finishing in a lowly 7th-place in the English top-flight (behind rivals Everton), eventually led to Suarez seeking a departure from Anfield during the summer of 2013.
‘Won’t be better off at Arsenal’
As such, on the back of claims that a bid in excess of £40 million would see a clause in Suarez’s contract activated, Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Arsenal tabled a bid worth a reported £40,000,001.
The board at Anfield unsurprisingly did all that they could to ensure that their star striker did not make the move to the Emirates, with Suarez having subsequently stayed put for another year, before joining Barcelona in the summer of 2014.
However, Suarez himself this morning confirmed that he had in fact set his sights on a move to Arsenal, before being persuaded against a North London switch by then-Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard.
Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports, Suarez revealed:
‘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.’