Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is braced for bids to tempt away Luis Suarez - but insists the striker will be staying at Anfield.
Suarez was the club’s top scorer with 30 goals this season as they finished seventh in the Premier League, failing to qualify for Europe.
Liverpool are in the process of raising money to fund squad rebuilding this summer, agreeing to sell Andy Carroll to West Ham for £15 million on Tuesday - although the striker still has to decide whether he wants to make the move.
But Rodgers is adamant that Liverpool do not have to sell Suarez, despite a host of clubs, including Bayern Munich, being linked with a move for the striker, and pointed to the fact that the striker showed his commitment to the club by signing a long-term contract last August.
He told the Daily Mirror: “Listen, every player has their price but there’s certainly no pressure for the club to sell him. We’re trying to build that bit of quality so he’s not for sale.
“I don’t have any doubts there will be interest in him this summer, because he’s up there.
“There’s a small percentage of players who are world class and he’s in that bracket, so I don’t think it will be too dissimilar to when I first came in last summer, with clubs making their interest known.
“People will want to take him, but I think we all recognise how integral he is. The owners have been absolutely unequivocal in their resolve in terms of wanting to keep him.
“I had a meeting with the owners when they came over and talked about lots of stuff and that was one of them.”
Speculation regarding the future of Suarez intensified in March when the striker, on international duty with Uruguay at the time, was reported as saying that he would welcome approaches from clubs in next season’s Champions League – although he later insisted he had been misquoted.
The striker will be away with Uruguay again in June, when they take part in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, and Rodgers has acknowledged the possibility that other players at the tournament may try to convince Suarez to move to a club in the Champions League.
But the Liverpool manager is confident that the 26-year-old will be a Liverpool player next season.
He said: “You can’t control that – people getting into his ear while he’s away. These are professionals, and Luis has got a tournament to play.
“But I can’t worry about that. I know we that as a club and me as a manager have supported him, told him when he’s been right and when he’s been wrong.
“The supporters show their passion for him relentlessly so, as a club, I don’t think we can do any more.”
Suarez has been a controversial figure in the two-and-a-half years since joining Liverpool from Ajax for £22.8 million in January 2011.
He was banned for eight matches by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a Premier League match in October 2011.
And the forward is four games into a 10-match domestic suspension imposed for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April.
Rodgers added: “We have supported him when he’s been in turmoil and when he’s had setbacks, when there have been traumas over the last couple of years. He knows he did wrong.
“Yes, there was that initial period of shock and anger at the beginning but a wee bit of reality has set now. I look at him in training and he’s still working hard.
“He was committed to wanting to stay and work with the club. I think he’s very happy here – as a club we’re doing everything to keep him and all the players content, and in the main I think they are.
“I think where he’s happiest is with his mates in the team or with his family. He just loves his football and I’m sure being away with Uruguay will give him a focus and concentration.
“Obviously he had a circumstance which made it extremely difficult for him, but I’ve seen nothing to make me think anything other than he will want to stay.
“I’ve been in contact with his agent, so I think he needs to go away, play in the tournament, have a period of reflection and come back, raring to go, to help us have a good season.”