Ian Ayre expects Luis Suarez to stay
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has told the BBC that fending off interest in Luis Suarez will be “a perennial issue” but has every expectation the Uruguay striker will stay.
Suarez had spoken of his desire to leave Anfield last summer amid a bid from Arsenal and links with Real Madrid, and more recently there have been claims Manchester City are eager to sign the 27-year-old in the summer.
However, Suarez, who had always insisted that his main concern was a lack of Champions League football, agreed a new contract in December and said last month that he would now be happy to stay even if the Reds failed to make the top four.
The prospect of missing out on a Champions League place looks improbable as Brendan Rodgers' side maintain their title charge approaching the final weeks of the season, and Ayre said Suarez, who has scored 29 goals in the league this season, has fully made amends after his bans for racism and biting Branislav Ivanovic.
“There has been a lot written about Luis and he is a fantastic individual and we know he loves this club and the fans and has repaid anything he has done wrong in full,” Ayre told BBC Radio Five. “We have always been supporters of Luis and he has stuck with us and is having probably the best season of his career.
“All the conjecture which went around last summer leading up to the January window was dispelled by the fact he signed a new contract. I think when you have a player like Luis, that is going to be a perennial issue.
“The important thing is we remain committed together. We have supported Luis through thick and thin and he has done the same by signing up to a new long-term contract recently. We would expect that to continue, but we'd also expect people to come in and rattle our cage every transfer window.
“The most important thing was Luis said from the outset, when people started showing an interest in him, he wanted to play Champions League football and where better to play that than England's most successful Champions League team?
“We love having him as part of the club and I know he loves being here so we would expect that to carry on. We don't want to sell Luis Suarez and we've been consistent with that in every transfer window since he came here.
“We are a team on the up and he is a fundamental part of what we are trying to achieve. We would never wantonly sell Luis Suarez.”
Meanwhile, Ayre has denied reports that captain Steven Gerrard is on the verge of signing a new two-year contract.
Gerrard, who turns 34 next month, signed an extension last year that commits him to the club until 2015 and Ayre said it was “absolutely not” the case that a deal was in place.
“It is not a discussion we have had, but it is not because it isn't a discussion we won't have,” he said. “He is part of the heartbeat of this club and, as long as Steven wants to be here and we want him to be here, it won't be a difficult conversation, but it is not one we've had recently.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.