LIVERPOOL, England (AP) -- Liverpool's American owner John Henry on Thursday ruled out selling disgruntled star striker Luis Suarez this offseason, and said it would be "ludicrous'' to let him join Premier League rival Arsenal.
With Suarez having gone public this week to voice his desire to leave Anfield for a chance to play in the Champions League, Henry told local media Thursday that the Uruguay forward would remain with the club "come what may.''
"We are not going to sell Luis,'' the Liverpool Echo quoted Henry as saying during a visit to the club's offices. "I have told (Arsenal chairman) Ivan Gazidis that Luis is not for sale. I am unequivocal on that.''
If Henry sticks by his comments, it would draw to a close one of the longest-running transfer sagas of this offseason, which has frayed relationships between the clubs and led some Liverpool fans to turn against their top goalscorer.
Arsenal has bid 40 million pounds for Suarez, but Henry said it was out of the question to sell the team's best player to another club fighting for the Champions League spots - especially as Liverpool tries to claw its way back into the Premier League's top four.
"Since we have not been in Europe and are not in Europe this year - and we haven't been in the Champions League for a while - obviously to sell Luis to a rival for one of those positions would be ludicrous,'' Henry said, adding that Liverpool would not be able to find an adequate replacement before the Premier League starts next weekend. "It is football. It's not finances, it is football. That's why I said at this point, this late in the window, everyone has already moved and we haven't identified anyone who hasn't already moved - or isn't moving - to replace him.''
The American, who also owns the Boston Red Sox and agreed last week to buy the Boston Globe newspaper, said he hopes Suarez can still be convinced to continue playing for Liverpool despite his public plea for the club to let him leave. Manager Brendan Rodgers said Suarez had acted with "total disrespect'' toward the club, and that he should apologize for the comments he made.
"It would be between the manager and the player,'' Henry said. "The manager is upset - as he should be. I think our fans are upset. I know Luis is upset. You know, that is going to be between the manager and the player and his teammates.''
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