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Luis Suarez signs $73 million deal with Reds

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Luis Suarez promised to remain at Liverpool ”for a very long time” after signing a contract extension worth £40 million ($73.2 million).

Suarez is understood to have committed until at least 2018 on a deal worth up to £10 million a year. Liverpool refused to comment on suggestions an exit clause has been inserted into the contract, which would enable Suarez to leave should the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre had been negotiating with Suarez’s representative, Pere Guardiola, for several weeks.

Suarez, 26, the subject of a £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal during the off-season, and with the January transfer window looming, Liverpool knew it would receive renewed interest from Champions League clubs.

An agreement at this stage of the season is beneficial to all parties, creating a sense of buoyancy at Anfield that a world-class player has been retained, rewarding Suarez for his extraordinary form, and ensuring that any future bids will not lead to a repeat of the dispute between the South American and the club.

With Liverpool in a Champions League position nearing the halfway mark of the Premier League season, the next priority is to satisfy the club’s and the player’s ambition by getting back into the European elite.

Suarez made it clear how influential his family was in the decision. It is known his wife, Sofia, is settled on Merseyside and this will have played a role in negotiations.

”When you extend your contract, you extend it because you want to stay here for the future,” Suarez said.

”I signed not only for 2½ more years, but I signed for a long time to stay here, and I am so happy. When you are happy, you try everything for the best for the future.

”I spoke a lot with my family, because my family are very important to me and they are happy here. We spoke over the last few weeks with the club and everything is OK.

”I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.

”Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision. I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: ”Luis Suarez is a world-class talent and securing his services is crucial for what we are trying to achieve here.

”What’s most important and most exciting is that, at just 26, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we’ll be seeing him reach that potential in a Liverpool shirt.”

©2013 The Age | This article first appeared in The Age on December 22, 2013.

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