Arsenal: Is the Gunners' Interest in Luis Suarez Genuine?

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 03:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on March 3, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

On the surface, Arsenal's interest in Luis Suarez seems entirely legitimate.

The Telegraph and various other reputable sources have confidently reported a £30 million bid. What's more, Suarez himself has spoken of being flattered by the Gunners' supposed interest.

However, something doesn't quite add up.

The first thing that arouses suspicion is the size of the bid. If Arsenal really wanted Suarez, surely they'd have made an offer closer to the Uruguayan's realistic market value. A player who lit up last season's Premier League is certain to fetch at least £10 million more.

The second query against Arsenal's interest is Suarez's controversial character. Arsene Wenger is famous for his extensive background checks and stringent ethical code. Would he really dare smash his transfer record to acquire a player as volatile as Suarez?

One conspiracy theory is that Arsenal's bid for Suarez is an attempt to force Real Madrid to release their grasp on Gonzalo Higuain. Arsenal have trailed Higuain all summer, and according to David Hytner of The Guardian, the player himself agreed terms with the Gunners back in June. However, as yet, no deal with Madrid has been agreed.

Bidding for Suarez would both threaten Madrid's own move for the Uruguayan, as reported by James Dickenson in the Express, and show Florentino Perez that Arsenal have other targets beyond Higuain.

However, it's hard to find this idea credible. A club with the financial power of Real Madrid are unlikely to be bullied by Arsenal, whose record in these high-level negotiations is far from immaculate.

Perhaps Arsenal's actions have a different goal: a public relations one.

Heading into the summer transfer window, Arsenal were bullish about their renewed financial potential. Speaking to ESPN, Gazidis said:

We have a certain amount which we've held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do things which would excite you.

Since then, we've seen Arsenal linked with a host of stars. As well as the aforementioned rumours about Higuain and Suarez, the Daily Mail have persistently published stories indicating that the Gunners have a long-standing interest in Wayne Rooney.

After making such bold statements, Arsenal are almost obliged to be seen competing for the game's top players.

Perhaps Arsenal's public pursuit of big names is simply a strategy to appease an increasingly restless fanbase. For all the talk, Arsenal have completed just one signing this summer: the Bosman transfer of injury-prone French forward Yaya Sanogo.

It's a dangerous game. If Arsenal end the summer without a marquee signing, the fans will feel betrayed. They've been promised fresh starts and ambition before. Now it is time for the club to deliver.

Arsenal's bid for Suarez may be a red herring, but it is vital that Gazidis and Arsene Wenger provide the club with at least one statement signing this summer.

The natives are restless. Stories like this simply serve to agitate them further.