Liverpool should sell wantaway striker Luis Suarez to Arsenal as soon as possible to give themselves the maximum amount of time to sign a replacement.
That is the view of Kop legend John Barnes, who believes that the Reds are fighting a losing battle to keep their talisman as he continues to seek an exit route from Anfield.
Arsenal lodged a bid of £40m and £1 last week in the belief that it activated a release clause in Suarez’s contract, but the Reds dimissed it out of hand and insist they were merely compelled to inform the player of the offer.
With the Uruguayan’s camp also seemingly holding the same interpretation of the clause as the Gunners, the saga is likely to run right up until the end of the current transfer window, with a potential legal wrangle also being mooted.
However, Barnes, who made 407 appearances and scored 108 goals for Liverpool during a glittering ten-year stint on Merseyside, claims that this would be the worst-case scenario for his old club.
The former England star urged them to move Suarez on immediately to prevent further disruption to their preparations for the upcoming campaign.
He said: “We’ve seen in the past when transfers go down to the last minute that it doesn’t help anybody, especially for a club like Liverpool who, if they lose Suarez, would have to find a big-name replacement.
“I’d like it to be done sooner rather than later because if it goes down to the last day, and you then have to go and get somebody, it’s not ideal.”
There have been reports that Arsenal will make a third bid for Suarez this week of around £42.5m and their determination to land their number one transfer target seems clear.
They are the strong favourites to get their man in the current window and are now as short as 9/10 to pull off what would be a sensational coup for a player who scored 23 Premier League goals last term.
Suarez’s preferred destination is Real Madrid but with the Spanish giants seemingly focusing their efforts on prising Gareth Bale from Tottenham, Arsenal appear to have a clear run to sign him.
Los Blancos can be backed at 43/20 to lure him to the Bernabeu this summer, while Liverpool – who are thought to be holding out for a fee in excess of £50m – are a 9/10 chance to keep Suarez until at least January.