Liverpool owner John Henry has reiterated that striker Luis Suarez is not for sale and warned Arsenal and other suitors that they have missed their opportunity.
On a visit to Liverpool, the American said selling Suarez to a rival would be ludicrous because the club needs to get back into the Champions League.
'We are not going to sell Luis,' Henry told a gathering of UK newspapers. 'It’s very important (not to sell to a rival), but especially for Liverpool because we’re not in Europe this year.' 'To sell to a rival for those positions (Champions League), or one of them, would be ludicrous. Liverpool needs to be playing in Europe.
It needs to be playing in the Champions League. That’s what Liverpool football club is about.
'I’m unequivocal that we won’t sell to Arsenal, whatever the bid is,' he said. 'I have not said it to Stan (Kroenke, Arsenal’s majority shareholder) but I had a personal conversation with others at Arsenal and told (Gazidis) we would not sell to Arsenal.' Arsenal have had two offers for Suarez rejected by Liverpool and the saga has had more twists than a Hitchcock thriller.
Suarez believes Arsenal’s second offer of 40 million pounds, plus a pound, should force Liverpool to let him go but the club, backed by the Professional Footballers’ Association, said it was merely a starting point.
Liverpool said Suarez’s claim that manager Brendan Rodgers told him he could leave if they did not qualify for the Champions League at the end of last season was not true and Henry said it was now too late for him to go anywhere.
'He won’t be sold even if a foreign club comes in because we do not have time to sign a suitable replacement,' Henry said.
'It’s not about finances. So late in the window... we can’t replace him. So for football reasons we can’t sell, and especially to Arsenal.
'I think the issue has been resolved now. We have said ‘no’ Luis will be a Liverpool player on 3 September [the day after the transfer window closes].' Henry said it would now be up to manager Brendan Rodgers as to how Suarez is re-integrated into the squad.
'The manager is upset, as he should be, the supporters are upset, Luis is, but that’s going to be between those two and his team-mates,' he said. 'We need Luis. Hopefully this will pass.' Suarez still has six matches to serve of a ten-match ban imposed on him for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match last season.