Liverpool eye Cavani as cover if Suarez quits for Real Madrid

PSG's Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani

Liverpool striker dampens speculation of a move, but Reds are braced for his departure

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:33 ON Thu 15 May 2014

THE future of Luis Suarez remains a subject of fevered speculation with Caughtoffside claiming that Liverpool "are preparing the ground" for what would be a club record £60m bid for Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani as Brendan Rodgers becomes increasingly resigned to losing Suarez in the summer. The 27-year old Uruguayan has reportedly been courted by Real Madrid in recent weeks and Caughtoffside says that the Reds fear Suarez could be tempted by a move to the Bernabeu.

With that in mind Liverpool boss Rodgers is closing in on Cavani, who is allegedly unsettled at the French champions after being used for most of the season in an unfamiliar wide role. It will take a reported £60m to prise Cavani from Paris but Liverpool would simply use the money made from selling Suarez to Real.

But is the Uruguayan ace really on the brink of a bunk to the Bernabeu? Not according to the player himself, whose words at a sponsor's event are carried by Goal.com. Asked if he was contemplating a move to Spain, Suarez replied: "You know what the press is like, how they speculate, and you try to not take any notice. I know what I want. My agent tells me what's there and what's not. It's more speculation than reality."

He also denied knowledge of any clause in his contract that would allow him to leave Liverpool for Real, saying: "No, no, not as far as I am aware. There is no clause that suggests a priority for a specific team."

The Daily Mirror, however, says that Real have indeed "sounded out Suarez's representatives" and an offer in the region of £70m could soon be tabled. That in turn, claims the Mirror, has led Arsenal to watch developments because the Gunners believe that that if Real do snap up Suarez they'll be able to buy Karim Benzema from them, a "long-term target" for Arsene Wenger.

And according to the Daily Telegraph the Gunners will renew their interest in Benzema whatever happens at Anfield this summer. The paper claims that Wenger will inquire after Benzema's availability after the Champions League final next week, and says that he could be prepared to pay as much as £30m for the French striker.

Elsewhere, and hopes that Mateo Kovacic would grace the Premier League next season are fading after his agent dismissed speculation linking the Inter Milan midfielder with a lucrative move to England.

According to Talksport Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been tailing the Croatian  playmaker but in an interview with the Italian media, agent Nikky Vuksan said his 20-year-old client was staying put. "Mateo will remain at Inter, there is no doubt. He wants to stay and the club wants to keep him, so he will not move," he said. Though Kovacic has had what Talksport describes as a "mixed time at the San Siro", it's believed he wants to give it one more season in Italy before contemplating a move to England. 

But if Arsenal have given up the ghost on Kovacic might a ghost of seasons past been returning to the Emirates? The Daily Mirror says that Carlos Vela "could be set" to move back to the Gunners, two years after he was sold to Real Sociedad. The Mexican hitman arrived at Arsenal in 2005 and before he was sold, manager Arsene Wenger inserted a buy-back clause in his Sociedad contract  club, allowing the north London club to "bring him back to the Emirates for a meagre £3.3m". That might still be £3m too much for many Arsenal fans who recall that in 62 appearances for the Gunners, Vela scored only 11 goals. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.