Why Luis Suarez wants to play for Barca
Luis Suarez has opened the door to Barcelona and the club have reacted - negotiations have begun
Luis Suarez will be the man of the summer, the player that Barcelona and Real Madrid will fight it out for, as they once did over Neymar and Gareth Bale.
Until now he has been concentrating on the World Cup with Uruguay in Brazil where, on Tuesday evening, his side progressed to the last 16 with a 1-0 win over Italy. Therefore it has been left to others to sort out his future, and he has already given orders on how he would like things to work out.
The preference of Suarez is clear: "I will go where they want me, where I will be important," he said. And if both clubs want him equally, he would rather play for Barca than Madrid.
Because the style of play at Camp Nou better suits his characteristics; because he met Lionel Messi at the airport and the Argentine approached him; but above all because his in-laws live in Castelldefels, close to Barcelona - he regularly visits the city when he has a break from football in England or during summers.
His wife, Sofia, is the most important person in his life because she has helped him mature into the man he is today. His first child was born in Barcelona, while his second was born in Liverpool.
After three and a half years in Amsterdam and over three in England, the moment has come to return home and Luis is ready to make this step with his family.
He likes Catalunya and has decided Barcelona is a better option than Madrid despite the fact Florentino Perez has spent more time working on this operation.
Barca have arrived late to the party, only really stepping up their interest in the last few weeks. When they did eventually establish contact though, Luis joked "you're late".
However, Suarez's desire to wear blaugrana now means that a door which was once locked is now open. Now it seems like that door could shut on Madrid. Los Blancos have put a lot of effort into this deal but Suarez delayed committing to a deal, instead preferring to see if the Catalans would wake up. And they did.
Under these conditions, Suarez has given orders to clarify how he wants to move to Barcelona. Madrid are aware of his personal committment and know that they are now playing at a disadvantage.
Suarez's release clause stands at €90million, an amount which can be reduced is it is Barca or Madrid trying to sign him, as stipulated by his current contract.
The price, therefore, would be around €80m. "The issue is advanced," sources close to the operation on Barcelona's side have said. "If Barca want him, they can get him," added a source from Liverpool.
Per his contract, Liverpool are obliged to come to the negotiating table and the ball is now in Barcelona's court. The English side are aware they have football's most wanted man but will only sell him for the price that works for them.
A SOAP OPERA
Meanwhile, Suarez remains quiet because, according to sources close to him, "he will be happy to continue at Liverpool" as the club are set to compete in the Champions League next season and want to strengthen their squad over the summer. Other sources, however, point out that Suarez is still not totally happy with Brendan Rodgers after the Liverpool boss said they didn't miss the Uruguayan when he was suspended for the first five matches of the season.
Suarez doesn't want the issue to drag on for long because it would not be good for anyone involved. He wants the process to be quick, although such big transfers are rarely easy. For this, it's necessary that Barca do not fall asleep and get to work on the idea of reaching an agreement with Liverpool.
As the same time, Barca want to include players in the deal. Pedro Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello are all options to reduce the €80m.
Recently there has been speculation that Raúl Sanlehí, who is leading the operation, travelled to England for a meeting with Liverpool's Ian Ayre. They discussed a possible first offer, which was €45m plus Alexis. However nobody can confirm the meeting.
Luis Suarez is wary it could turn into a soap opera and has asked Barca to rush more than they have until this point.
Another point of negotiations will be Suarez's contract. He currently earns €10m a season, making him the second highest paid player in the Premier League after Yaya Toure. Barca have reduced their wage bill with several departures this summer, with some big earners leaving to free up space to pay Suarez.
The 27-year-old is a specific request of Luis Enrique, who is confident he will function in a front three with Messi and Neymar.
He likes Suarez's hunger and ambition for victory which is demonstrated in every match he plays in - to that point that he was prepared to bite an opponent. The Liverpool star has received several bans for various actions he has performed on the pitch, although it is nothing more than a hunger to win.
Meanwhile Suarez will wait in Brazil for news from Spain or England. His name has been heard a lot already this summer but now is the moment, as his father-in-law said on Monday, for things to move forward.