Liverpool can't afford to watch Luis Suarez leave Anfield without suitable time to find a replacement. He's a crucial member of the squad, and filling the void should he exit would be a major test for manager Brendan Rodgers.
So getting a definitive answer about his plans in the near future is essential. David Maddock of the Daily Mirror reports the club has set a July 22 deadline for Suarez to clarify his stance or join the Reds for their preseason tour:
The situation amounts to a tacit warning to the South American that the time has come to unravel his complicated position and determine just where he will play next season.
So far, no offer has been received from any club, and there has been no contact at all from Real Madrid, despite persistent reports they want to sign a player who was voted in the top three in the Premier League last season.
The lack of contact involving Suarez probably isn't due to low interest from other clubs. More likely, the other managers are probably in wait-and-see mode until it becomes clear whether or not the talented striker is going to officially request a transfer, which the report says Liverpool would demand.
Real Madrid are one club that's been linked to him ever since the last campaign ended, but more would be expected to join the chase should it become apparent Suarez is ready to move.
After all, he was one of the most productive strikers in the Premier League last season.
In a perfect world, Rodgers and Co. would be able to smooth things over with Suarez and get him to commit at least his immediate future to Liverpool. Despite his flaws, which led to a 10-match ban that carries over to next season, he's a dynamic offensive player.
The Reds have tried to prepare for his potential departure.
Daniel Sturridge would be expected to take on a more prominent role with Iago Aspas and Fabio Borini among the other strikers needing to step up in a post-Suarez Liverpool world.
In reality, expecting any of those players to produce at the level the Uruguayan did last season is a stretch. There's some talent in that group, but Suarez is a special player who's often carried the Reds attack for extended stretches, including early last season.
If he did leave Anfield, Rodgers would need to seek another outside option to bolster the offense before the start of the campaign.
That's why it's important to get an answer before it's too late to identify and land possible targets on the market.
The endgame remains unclear while Suarez takes his postseason break after finishing Uruguay's run in the Confederations Cup. But Liverpool is making the right move by putting at least some pressure on him to make a decision.
All the club can do in the meantime is ensure its ready for any potential outcome.
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