Luis Suarez reveals surprise role in preventing Arsenal from signing Karim Benzema in 2014

Luis Suarez was set to join Real Madrid in 2014 (AFP via Getty Images)
Luis Suarez was set to join Real Madrid in 2014 (AFP via Getty Images)

Luis Suarez has revealed he played a role in Arsenal failing to sign Karim Benzema in the summer of 2014.

The Uruguayan was himself strongly linked with a move to north London a year earlier, when the Gunners submitted a £40,000,001 bid that was rejected by Liverpool.

In what proved to be his final year in England, Suarez scored 31 Premier League goals as Liverpool fell just short in the title race, Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip proving costly in a defeat to Chelsea.

Suarez was always likely to leave Liverpool at the end of that season and he had a move to Real Madrid lined up before he flew out to Brazil for the World Cup, with the Spanish side planning to sell Benzema to Arsenal to make room.

Uruguay were knocked out in the last-16 by Colombia, but it was a group-stage incident involving Suarez that took all the headlines, and ultimately impacted his club future.

The forward bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and was subsequently banned from all football-related activity for four months, as well as earning himself a nine-match international ban.

Reflecting on that period, Suarez has spoken of how Real cooled their interest in him and Barcelona then won the race to sign him, meaning Benzema was no longer available for Arsenal to sign. The Gunners instead brought in Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck that summer.

“Before the 2014 World Cup, Real Madrid wanted to sign me and everything was on track,” Suarez told Uruguay’s DelSol 99.5 FM radio station.

“They were planning to sell Benzema to Arsenal, it was all done.

“When the World Cup started, Barcelona joined the race and obviously I preferred Barca. With the bite situation, Madrid lowered their interest and Barca became more interested despite the punishment. I will always be grateful for that.

“In the end I had both options and I chose Barcelona because it was my dream.”