Luis Suarez on Tuesday accused Liverpool of breaking an agreement in his contract by refusing to let him leave Anfield, saying he had been promised permission to join another club if the Reds failed to reach the Champions League.
In his first public comments since Arsenal made a 40-million pound bid for the Uruguay striker, Suarez told British newspaper The Guardian on Tuesday that he is ready to take his case to the Premier League, and called on Liverpool to "honor our agreement."
"Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I'd be allowed to go," Suarez was quoted as saying. "I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish - now all I want is for Liverpool to honor our agreement."
The comments will increase the pressure on Liverpool to reach a deal for the disgruntled player, and will likely boost Arsenal's hopes of signing the kind of top-class attacking talent the club has been going after this offseason.
"They gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honor that," Suarez said. "And it is not just something verbal with the coach but something that is written in the contract. I'm not going to another club to hurt Liverpool."
Suarez was left out of Liverpool's squad for a preseason match in Norway because of a foot injury, and his comments were published hours later on the Guardian's website.
Arsenal reportedly made the 40-million pound believing it triggered a release clause in Suarez's contract, but Anfield officials have maintained that they are under no obligation to sell the player, and that his value is much higher.
Suarez accused Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers of going back on his promise by stating in public that he was planning for Suarez to stay at the club.
"I spoke with Brendan Rodgers several times and he told me: 'Stay another season, and you have my word if we don't make it then I will personally make sure that you can leave,'" Suarez said. "I just want them to abide by the promises made last season."
Suarez has scored 51 goals in 96 games for Liverpool and was one of the best players in the league over the last two seasons. But his stint at Anfield has been marked by controversy, including a ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra and another lengthy suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic toward the end of the last campaign.
"I'm 26. I need to be playing in the Champions League," Suarez said. "I have to put my career first. People say Liverpool deserve more from me but I have scored 50 goals in less than 100 games and now they could double the money they paid for me."