Liverpool striker Luis Suarez did have a 40 million pound release clause in his contract last summer but decided to ignore it when Arsenal tried to buy him, principal owner John W Henry has revealed.
Arsenal had as many as three bids to buy Uruguay international Suarez rejected last summer, including an offer of 40,000,001 pounds submitted on July 23.
That bid was made in the apparent belief that it would trigger a release clause in Suarez’s contract and allow him to enter talks over a possible move to the Emirates Stadium.
At the time, Liverpool insisted they would not sell the forward at any price, and would only inform him of any offers of more than 40 million pounds.
Suarez -- who was under contract until 2016 at the time -- stated publicly last summer that he wanted to leave Anfield, but his club’s refusal to consider a sale resulted in him staying.
The 27-year-old, who is the Premier League’s leading scorer this season with 24 goals, went on to sign a contract extension in December, committing him to Liverpool until 2018. Neither Liverpool nor the player have stated if the new deal has a buy-out clause.
At the time, Henry took a swipe at Arsenal over their pursuit of the striker, tweeting "What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?" as news of the bid worth one pound over the reported threshold emerged.
Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Saturday, Henry said that Liverpool had been "forced" to sell Spain striker Fernando Torres to Chelsea for 50 million pounds in January 2011, but did not want to part company with Suarez.
"Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the English Premier League which is arguably the top soccer league in the world," Henry said.
"And he had a buy-out clause -- I don’t know what degree I should go into this - but he had a buy-out clause of 40 million pounds -- more than $60 million.
"So Arsenal, one of our prime rivals this year, they offered 40,000,001 pounds for him and triggered his buy-out clause.
"But what we’ve found over the years is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England -- actually not in England, in world football. It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving.
"We sold Fernando Torres for 50 million pounds. We didn’t want to sell but we were forced to.
"For the first time, we took the position that we weren’t selling.
"Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position we’re just not selling and it’s been great for Luis, it’s been great for us, and what will happen at the end of year -- I think we’re going to make Champions League and we have a small chance of winning the Premier League this year.
"We have three gentlemen up front: Suarez, [Raheem] Sterling and [Daniel] Sturridge. Those three are young, and I think Luis and those three could be together for a long time."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report