By Wayne Veysey
Arsenal have lodged a staggering bid worth €49 million for Luis Suarez.
The Londoners, yet to make a senior signing this summer, are believed to have told Liverpool they will pay €41m up front for the striker, topped up by €8m in add-ons.
Arsenal’s initial €41m bid, made up of €35m plus €6m in add-ons, was rejected out of hand by the Merseysiders three weeks ago.
It is not yet known what Liverpool’s response is to the latest demonstration of Arsenal’s new financial muscle in the transfer market.
Arsene Wenger will 'pull out all the stops' this summer in an attempt to land Suarez, who has become the main focus of his attention as he attempts to make a marquee striker signing.
Arsenal are believed to be confident that the Uruguayan is keen on a move to Emirates Stadium, and have now gone into completely unchartered territory to capture him.
The offer, which is comfortably a club record, is nearly double the €27m bid the Gunners made earlier this month for Gonzalo Higuain, who is in advanced talks to join Napoli for €37m.
Liverpool are fighting to hold on to a player who has spoken frequently this summer of his interest in a move, most specifically to Real Madrid.
Brendan Rodgers has compared Suarez's value to that of Edinson Cavani, who joined Paris Saint-Germain last week for €63m, but the Anfield manager has stopped short of completely ruling out the Uruguayan's departure, merely saying every player has his value and he will only leave "if something drastic happens".
A bid rising to €49m for a 26-year-old who is banned for the first six games of the new season might be regarded as tempting by Liverpool's America-based owners Fenway Sports Group.
Suarez has a €46.5m clause in his contract which his advisers believe entitles him to ask for permission to speak to any club that matches the price. But Liverpool claim they only have to inform Suarez and the clause does not oblige them to sell.
Arsenal believe they have been given enough encouragement by the Uruguayan's representatives that he is keen to move to Emirates Stadium in search of Champions League football.
The Gunners' second offer has been timed to coincide with Suarez returning to pre-season training following his extended summer break. The striker linked up with Liverpool in Melbourne on Sunday for the second leg of their pre-season tour.
Suarez has emerged as Wenger's first choice ahead of Higuain and Wayne Rooney, who is the subject of strong interest from Chelsea.
Arsenal will continue to monitor the situations of both forwards as they step up plans to splash €110m to make at least two marquee signings this summer, most likely in the striker and central midfield positions.