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McManaman: Suarez too good for Arsenal but deserves to play at higher level

The former Reds star thinks that the Uruguayan is worth more than the £40 million offered by Arsenal and backs his old side to challenge for a Champions League place

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Former Liverpool star Steve McManaman understands why Luis Suarez wants to play in the Champions League but says that the Uruguayan is too good to play for Arsenal.

LUIS SUAREZ'S CAREER STATS
  TEAM YEAR APPS GLS
Liverpool 2011- 96 51
Ajax 2007-11 159 111
Groningen 2006-07 37 15
Nacional 2005-06 34 12
The Gunners have given up on signing Suarez this summer after having two bids rejected, the second worth just over £40 million, which the player believed would trigger a clause in his contract, forcing the Merseyside club to sell.

Liverpool insist that Suarez is not for sale despite the striker's claim of a gentlemen's agreement with manager Brendan Rodgers and the 26-year-old is expected to return to action once he completes his 10-match ban.

"Arsenal finished fourth last year and, at this point, I don't think it's a good enough move for him," McManaman told Goal. "I think he would rather be at [Real] Madrid - he's been waiting for them. Unfortunately for him, Madrid are going after a player called Gareth Bale.

"If you look at the transfer system in Europe this summer - and, yes, it's gone bananas - but if [Edinson] Cavani is worth £55m, Falcao £53m and Gareth Bale £85m, then Luis Suarez is worth more than the £40m offered by Arsenal.

"He just wants to play at a higher level than he is now. I've got no qualms with that - I think when you speak to a lot of the players [at Liverpool] and people like Brendan Rodgers, they say all he wants to do is play football at the highest level.

"I've got no problem with his attitude when he plays. He wants to play all the time and, when he's eligible, I think he will be back to the superstar that he is.

"I don't think he's got anything in particular against Liverpool. That's why I think fans are quite happy to forgive and forget."

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McManaman, who is now a co-analyst on BT Sport, feels that the Reds still need to spend money on someone quality signings before the transfer window closes if they are to finish in the top four.

"I expect Liverpool to be much better than they were last year but I'd still like them to bring in a few more players, just to beef up the squad in case they have a couple of injuries," he added.

"I think it's realistic to say they could challenge the teams who finished above them last season like Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham. Liverpool have only really spent the money they've recouped. It's exciting bringing new players in but when you do lose internationals like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Pepe Reina, that does take something away from your team.

"I think this is the year Brendan Rodgers makes his mark in building his own type of the team. I certainly think this is the year where we need to see if he's got funds to buy players."

Steve McManaman is co-analyst on BT Sport's coverage of 38 exclusively live Barclays Premier League Football matches. BT Sport is free with BT broadband, to find out more visit www.btsport.com

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