Anderlecht’s hopes of getting a bumper payday for their prized asset Argentinian playmaker Matias Suarez were dealt a severe blow, after the club admitted the proposed €16 million CSKA Moscow move was off.
Herman Van Holsbeeck revealed the news directly after Anderlecht’s first league win of the season against Beerschot, giving an air of gloom to proceedings. Despite agreeing a fee with the Russian club at the end of last month, Van Holsbeeck disclosed that extensive tests in a Munich hospital had found Suarez’s chronic knee problem was still present.
Even though he managed to scoop numerous individual awards last season, Suarez was dogged by anterior ligament problems in 2012, curtailing his best season in Belgium yet. CSKA Moscow, understandably for the outlay they were willing to shell out for the player, wanted Suarez at their disposal immediately. With the 24-year old still not medically cleared, the transfer has now been cancelled as another 2-3 months has been added onto his rehabilitation, as well as possible surgery. Suarez, reportedly wanted a second opinion on the diagnosis, but CSKA weren’t willing to wait on it.
This leaves Anderlecht in a terrible situation. The huge bounty, that not many thought they would get, has been wafted in front of them then taken away. Whilst they always put the asking price on Suarez way too high, they did manage to persuade clubs in further East into taking a punt, which was a surprise. However now that Suarez won’t be moving until at least January, it leaves the club’s transfer plans in disarray.
The knock-on effect of this could be widely felt at the Brussels club. With John Van Den Brom keen to bolster his defence, any potential signing has been put on hold. Reports emerged that Anderlecht were close to signing Finnish centre-back Niklas Moisander from AZ Alkmaar, and now that will be put on hold with Les Mauves short on cash.
Van Holsbeck admitted that the coach wanted a defender and midfielder, but didn’t think it was as necessary as some might think, backing the makeshift defence of Marcin Wasilewski and Olivier Deschacht to continue their reasonable form. With Cheikhou Kouyate returning from the Olympic Games following Senegal’s exit, the situation improves slightly but is still hardly ideal for the new boss.
This now puts even more emphasis on Anderlecht getting into the Champions League Group Stages, with a potential goldmine to be unearthed for playing six European games. Though not to the tune of €11m they thought they were getting immediately, it does provide some comfort. Recent history has not been kind to Belgium’s most successful club in recent years, falling foul of smaller teams in the knockout phases regularly.
Perhaps this also puts pressure on the board to sell Lucas Biglia, the other jewel in Anderlecht’s crown. However, despite paper talk linking him with some illustrious clubs, no one seems to want to bite. Just yet, a late swoop might come.
Rumours surfaced that Arsenal were interested in acquiring Suarez and had a pre-contract agreement, soon revealing themselves to be little more than agent talk after it became apparent Suarez couldn’t obtain a UK visa.
Whilst Anderlecht no doubt look stronger on the pitch with Matias Suarez, the windfall they need to ease their finances now won’t be there for the foreseeable future. If CSKA won’t risk it, will anyone else? Not for this season it seems. The most bittersweet part of this whole debacle is that Anderlecht could have let Suarez rest up more at the end of the season, but chose to play him to seal the title. Now many wonder whether that decision was really worth it.