Luis Suarez has said that Liverpool promised him last year that he’d be allowed to leave the club if it failed to reach the Champions League, and has called on the club to ”honor our agreement.”
The Uruguay international has also said he will submit a written transfer request by the end of the week if the Anfield club continue to block a potential move to Arsenal. Suarez, in interviews given to the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, said he believes a clause written into the contract he signed last summer entitles him to a move.
Suarez said: "Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I’d be allowed to go. I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish – now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement."
Liverpool have rejected two bids from Arsenal – of £30million and £40,000,001 – for Suarez this summer.
Suarez understands the Gunners’ unusual second bid of £1 over £40million triggered a release clause, but Liverpool believe they must only inform the player of an offer beyond that mark and negotiate if they wish to sell.
Suarez said: "I don’t feel betrayed (by Liverpool) but the club promised me something a year ago just as I promised them that I would stay and try everything possible to get us into the Champions League. They gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honour that.
"And it is not just something verbal with the coach but something that is written in the contract. I’m not going to another club to hurt Liverpool."
Suarez, who joined Liverpool in a £22.8million deal from Ajax in January 2011 and has scored 51 goals in 96 appearances for the club, claims he is now ready to force the issue. There had been reports that Suarez and his advisors were considering Premier League arbitration as a possible way to break the impasse over his situation.
Suarez said: "I have the club’s word and we have the written contract and we are happy to take this to the Premier League for them to decide the case but I do not want it to come to that. We have the backing of the PFA."
Liverpool were heavily reliant on Suarez last season, with the forward netting 30 goals, but the club have also backed him strongly throughout a number of controversies. The most notable of those were his infamous race row Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during the 2011-12 season and his ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic earlier this year.
He still has six games of his 10-match suspension for the Ivanovic incident to serve. Suarez has been accused of lacking loyalty to Liverpool for making his desire to leave so public, but he feels he is only asking for what he is entitled to.
He said: "They defended me, just like I defended them on the pitch. The players have always supported me and I’m grateful for that. It’s the same with the supporters. I got a great reception at the weekend and I am grateful. I don’t think the supporters are angry – I think they understand a player when he has the ambition to triumph at the highest level.
"When you are at a club for as long as you are together you stick up for each other but that does not give the club the right to go back on their commitment. I’m 26. I need to be playing in the Champions League. I waited one year and no one can say that I did not give everything possible with my team-mates last season to get us there.
"It is not as if I am asking to move to a local rival. And I would not consider moving to a club outside the Champions League. I have made my desire to move known in private various times and now it feels like the time for me to make it public. I have to put my career first. People say Liverpool deserve more from me but I have scored 50 goals in less than 100 games and now they could double the money they paid for me."
Suarez was critical of the British media earlier in the summer, blaming them for some of his problems as he appeared to court interest from Real Madrid. Yet he claims his words were misinterpreted because of certain questions that he was asked and does not feel he would be contradicting himself by moving to Arsenal.
He said: "My priority is Champions League football. This is about me doing what is right for my career at this moment in time. Right now the Premier League is the biggest and most important league. My record shows that I’m not the kind of player who wants to change clubs every season and I would have no problem playing in England for many more years."