On Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi announced that Luis Suarez is the club's number one transfer target. The Qatari bigwig can keep dreaming. There's not enough oil and natural gas in the entire Middle East to fund a purchase of the Liverpool star.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QSI) bought a 70 percent stake in the club in May, and financed a spending spree that brought nearly £100 million ($157 million) worth of talent to the French capital.
Al-Khaelaifi installed former AC Milan honchos Leonardo and Carlo Ancelotti as director of football and manager respectively. The project is progressing at a steady pace, and PSG leads Ligue 1 with 12 games to play. Barring any slip-ups, it should capture its first league championship since 1994.
But QSI's ambition is not to conquer French soccer. It wants to turn PSG into a world soccer power, and build a team capable of winning the UEFA Champions League. That's where Suarez comes in. The three amigos in charge at PSG know they must bring the top players of this generation (and next) to Paris. Suarez fits the profile and then some.
"We are already looking at the market for next season," Al-Khaelaifi told Sky Sports. "We have clear targets in mind. It is true that we want Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain. Our real short-term targets are to win the Champions League and find a new Lionel Messi.
"We will spend what is normal for a top-class club. We prefer to invest a lot and immediately."
"El Pistolero" is only 25, but has already proven himself on the international stage. He powered Uruguay to victory at last summer's Copa America and was named Player of the Tournament. Few players on earth can torment a defense like Suarez. He's just entering his peak years, and there's no reason to think he won't regain and maintain his top form over the coming years.
Suarez, a £22.8 million ($35.8 million) gift from the soccer Gods, came to Liverpool at a unique moment in the club's history. He arrived at the beginning of a restoration project designed at bringing the glory days back to Anfield.
It didn't take long for LFC to realize it had a star in its midst. He scored in his debut (as a substitute) against Stoke City. He set up two goals in a famous victory over Manchester United a month later.
While no player is bigger than Liverpool FC (or any other club), Suarez is as close as a player can come to being "irreplaceable". The Reds are a better team when he is on the field. That is beyond dispute.
He may be even more important off the field. The Uruguayan created a new legion of LFC fans in his homeland (and certainly in other parts of South America). He is also that rare breed of player that can — and will — attract other top players to join the club.
Sol Campbell moved across the North London divide for the same reason back in 2011. LeBron James joined the Miami Heat for a similar move. Great players want to play together, and they can't all play for FC Barcelona.
Victory in the Carling Cup saw Liverpool pass that first road-sign in its journey back to the top. Selling Suarez — at any price — would be a setback. Even if PSG offered triple the £22.8 million LFC paid for him, it wouldn't equal Suarez's true value to the project. Players score goals, win games and lift trophies. Money alone does not.
It's exceptionally difficult to find players that can constantly perform in the Anfield pressure-cooker. It's even harder to get them in their peak years. In Suarez, Liverpool has a rare gem. Al-Khaelaifi must know it would take more than a few petrol-dollars to pry him loose.
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