by Dave Usher for ESPN
A few eyebrows were raised earlier this week with the news that Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre had flown to Spain to open contract extension talks with Pere Guardiola, the agent of star striker Luis Suarez. It's obvious why Liverpool would want to get a deal done, but having tried so desperately to engineer a move away from Anfield last summer, why would Suarez, looking for an exit, make things even more difficult for himself by extending his contract? What's in it for him?
Well first and foremost, I'd imagine a huge fat pay rise would be in the offing. Comparatively speaking, Suarez is extremely underpaid right now. I'm aware of how ridiculous it sounds to suggest that someone who has a reported salary of around 100,000 pounds per week is underpaid, but it's relative, and in relative terms, Suarez is not being paid the going rate for a player of his incredible talent and consistent level of production. Liverpool are currently getting wagyu steak at corned beef price.
Most Liverpool fans would put the Uruguayan in the top three players in the world, and even those who disagree would struggle to put up a convincing argument that he's not in the top 10 at the very least. Yet he isn't even one of the three highest earners at Anfield, let alone the world. Suarez is currently paid less than half of what the likes of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and numerous other Premier League stars are picking up, so yes, he is underpaid and were he to move anywhere else, he would be able to double his present salary and then some.
Liverpool value Suarez at an equal or even higher price than what Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale, but with just two years left on his present contract, they would not be in a strong enough bargaining position to make the kind of demand for Suarez that Tottenham did for Bale should Real Madrid come calling at the end of this campaign, particularly if the player is pushing for a move as he did last summer.
With a freshly signed contract extension though? Well that would change everything, especially if there was a release clause in there for a set amount that is agreeable to both parties. That would provide a clarity that was not there last summer. It would most certainly not be a guarantee of Suarez staying though. Don't forget, Bale signed a new deal at Spurs but was on a plane to Madrid a year later.
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