Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard wants the club to hold on to Luis Suarez if they want to mount a genuine title challenge next season.
Arsenal’s club record bid of just £40m plus £1, expected to trigger the Uruguayan’s contract clause, was rejected by the Merseyside club last week.
And Gerrard also hoped Liverpool won’t sell the 26-year-old striker to Arsenal but that it would be fair enough if he were to go abroad to Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“I’ve spoken to Luis loads and of course I’m trying to get him to stay,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.
“If we lose him the challenge becomes even more difficult for Liverpool. It’s that simple.
“If we get the couple of marquee signings we need and keep Luis that will give me confidence that we can compete. Keeping Luis could be our best signing of the summer.”
Suarez, who joined Liverpool from Ajax in January 2011 for £22.7m and scored 30 goals in 44 appearances for the club last season, became the subject of transfer speculations since he was handed a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s arm last season.
Gerrard insists selling the controversial forward to Arsenal will amount to a difficult season for the Anfield club regardless of the transfer fee involved.
“If he goes to Arsenal, it obviously makes our season that bit more difficult,”he added. “From the club’s point of view it doesn’t make sense at all, no matter how much money is put on the table.
“If he was to go abroad to a Real Madrid or Barcelona I would totally understand it. He’s a South American and from a family point of view, it’s where they all want to be.
“If I was Luis I would wait for one of those two clubs because I think he’s good enough to play for either of them.”