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Liverpool have plans in place should Suarez leave

ESPN staff
July 15, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Ian Ayre has no fears about the reception Luis Suarez will receive at Liverpool © PA Photos
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Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre says the club have targets in mind should Luis Suarez leave the club this summer - but he remains hopeful the Uruguayan will stay at Anfield.

Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave the Reds during the current transfer window, citing his desire to play Champions League football as key to his ambitions.

Arsenal and Real Madrid - who are both qualified for Europe's top club competition - are both believed to be interested in the striker, with the Gunners reportedly submitting a second bid of £35 million for the Uruguayan on Sunday.

Other clubs are also believed to be monitoring the player's situation, but Ayre is hopeful Liverpool can persuade their star player to remain on Merseyside.

If Suarez does leave, however, Ayre is adamant the club will be able to move quickly to find his replacement.

"We had an offer which is fairly public from Arsenal," Ayre said, in an interview with Bloomberg. "We said no to that offer, and as far as we're concerned he turns up for training when he's due back. And we'll move forward on that basis. .

"This is an ambitious young player, he's talked in the media about wanting to play in the Champions League and all these things. It's our job to convince Luis that this is the right place to achieve those things."

He added: "In every position on the pitch we have a fairly good idea of who are the best players available at what price in the event one of our players leaves.

"But that doesn't mean we're painting a negative scenario, it just means you're planning well, which is what people expect."

Ayre believes the club's summer transfer activity - including the signing of the likes of Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas - shows Liverpool can still attract top players who are confident the club is heading in the right direction, and is hopeful the new additions can convince Suarez the club has the quality to challenge at the top end of the Premier League.

Ayre also expects manager Brendan Rodgers to make more signings before the new season starts, especially after missing out on new Borussia Dortmund signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

"We've brought in great players who recognise we're not in the Champions League but see the size of this club, see the size of the opportunity and what we're trying to build and want to be part of it," he said.

He added: "We've got other people in our sights and we'll keep plugging away. But we'll do some more business, there's no doubt about that."

If Suarez does remain, Ayre does not expect the former Ajax forward to receive a negative reception from Reds fans after he completes the remainder of his ongoing ten-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic - despite his public declarations and flirtations with other clubs.

"I don't think anyone will be against him at this point," Ayre said. "He only needs to do what he did last season and everyone will feel he's in the right place and he should carry on getting the support that he deserves and gets from Liverpool.

"We'd love to see Luis put on a Liverpool shirt for this season and beyond and we hope that once he gets back things will settle down."

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