- Premier League
Arsenal Suarez hunt 'hint of desperation'
Former Arsenal forward Alan Smith believes the club's pursuit of a player with Luis Suarez's "nastiness" signals a "sea change" from Arsene Wenger, but admitted there was a "slight hint of desperation" about the move.
Arsenal have so far been frustrated in their £40 million-plus chase of the Uruguay international, with Liverpool unequivocal in their refusal to sell. Smith, however, believes that Suarez would provide the London club with something they have badly lacked over the last few years.
"He's of a character I think that Arsenal have needed over the last few years, that they haven't had," Smith said at Sky Sports' 2013-14 season launch. "That nastiness, that aggressiveness he has, that will to win. There aren't too many within the Arsenal squad that are like that. It marks a sea change from Arsene Wenger I think that he is after people like that.
"I think he's probably realised that in order to end that drought, he needs to head in a slightly different direction. So it's encouraging from that point of view, not so encouraging to hear Liverpool's statement on the subject... you know it's pretty emphatic.
"I don't think Arsenal are then going to slap £60m on the table, that's not the way they do things. So they have probably gone nearly as far as they are prepared to go. If you're Arsene Wenger, you're looking elsewhere, desperately looking really because they've made no secret of the fact that they've got plenty of money to spend both in transfer fees and wages. The fans were getting excited towards the end of last season and, all of a sudden we're in mid-August and nothing's happened.
"There were boos at the end of the Emirates tournament when they lost to Galatasaray, I think that's not because they lost, but because the fans are just so anxious to see new faces coming in. But Suarez, as an Arsenal fan, would be one that you'd love to see at The Emirates.
"Obviously he has blotted his copybook on a few occasions, whether he would continue to, whether Arsene Wenger in a different environment would make him behave in a different way, I don't know. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. From Arsenal's point of view, there is a slight hint of desperation in it, you are taking a chance if you are going to sign someone like Suarez.
"But Arsenal now are desperate to end that trophy drought. They want to go for players with the maximum ability, he's a top, top player we all know that. He's almost turning a blind eye to the other side of his character."