Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told Arsenal their £40,000,001 bid for Luis Suarez is nowhere near the player’s value.
Suarez will be allowed to hold talks with the Gunners after the offer, made on Tuesday, triggered a clause in his contract.
Liverpool, though, maintain that the clause does not oblige them to sell the 26-year-old at that price and have rejected the bid. Rodgers suggested last week that Suarez is as valuable as Edinson Cavani, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for €64 million (£55 million) on July 16.
The Anfield manager told the Liverpool Echo: “If Arsenal want the player, then they have to produce the value for the player. There was an offer a few weeks ago of £35 million and, two weeks later, it is now £40,000,001. I don’t think it is anywhere near the value of what he is worth.
“It is two-fold, really. A player may want to go, but then somebody has to pay the value or worth of that player.”
Suarez played for the final 20 minutes on Wednesday as Liverpool beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in a friendly in Australia.
It was his first appearance for the club since he was given a ten-match domestic suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League game at Anfield on April 21.
Suarez set up a late goal for Iago Aspas, but his celebrations were subdued. He has repeatedly declared that he wants to leave Liverpool since the end of May, and said two weeks ago that he was flattered by Arsenal’s interest.
Pere Guardiola, the player’s agent, believes the clause in his contract will allow him to move on following Arsenal’s bid.
However, when asked about the contract, Rodgers insisted that Liverpool are only obliged to inform Suarez of any offers over £40 million.
“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s it. There’s nothing more than that.”
Suarez flew in to Melbourne on Sunday to join up with Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia, having been given a break after playing for Uruguay at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.
Rodgers said he was happy with the way Liverpool’s 30-goal top scorer last season has applied himself in training and on the field despite the uncertainty over his future.
“It may be a distraction, but players are paid enough money now to produce for their clubs and he just has to keep his professionalism, which he has done,” the manager said. “He was OK to go on to the pitch, and his concentration was fine.
“I am not worried about him [in that sense], but there will be no games played at Liverpool. He is part of the group and he knows the standard you have to meet at this club, on and off the field.”