He might not be scoring but if Suarez’s past has shown us anything it’s that he needs time.
There was huge expectation put on Suarez when he arrived at Barcelona after a massive fee was agreed with Liverpool in the summer. Football fans around the world expected Suarez to fit right in with Messi and Neymar to make one of the most deadly attacking line ups in Europe. Although, this hasn’t happened as of yet and Barcelona are currently going through a rough patch in La Liga with their most recent game ending in a loss to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad.
This shock result has only intensified the rumours of turmoil at Barcelona and the sacking of their Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta led to suggestions that Barcelona chiefs are unhappy with the signing of Luis Suarez as his form hasn’t impressed Barcelona officials while they would have preferred to sign Marco Reus for half of the price while he has lower wage demands and is less of a disciplinary risk.
This is just speculation from the press though and no one can really confirm nor deny what is really going on in Barcelona but a striker of Luis Suarez’ quality needs to be given time to adapt to a new team and a new league before he can show his outstanding talent.
Barcelona fans have not seen the Luis Suarez they expected to see when he signed for the Catalan Giants as Barca’s form seems to be better without the striker in the team than when he plays for the club. Metro have reported that during the time that Suarez was out of action because of his ban, Barcelona had taken 22 points from a possible 24 which means they took 91% of the points available. This statistic has dramatically fallen since Suarez returned to action as Barcelona have only taken only 16 points from a possible 27 points which means they only took 59% of the points available to them.
This shows a drop in form from the team and not only Suarez but his lack of goals for his new club hasn’t helped Barcelona at all as he has only managed to score once in 697 minutes of action. This statistic of only one goal in nine games has affected Barcelona’s goal per game ratio as it has dropped from 2.75 goals per game to 2.1 goals per game.
Despite, the lack of goals from Suarez he has managed to make five assists for his team-mates which shows he is contributing in some way to his new team. The reason that Barcelona fans don’t have to worry about Suarez as of yet is that he has showed this kind of form earlier in his career such as when he first joined Dutch side FC Groningen and when he first joined Liverpool. It takes Suarez a while to adapt to a new league and a new system before he can become a prolific goal scorer for his team.
Suarez was snapped up by FC Groningen in 2006 after scouts noticed him playing for Nacional in South America. The striker was brought in as a risk as he seemed to impress but little was known about the player before his move to the Netherlands. Suarez had difficulties settling into the Dutch league as there was a language barrier but he also took time to fit into Dutch football.
Luckily for Suarez, there was a fellow Uruguayan named Bruno Silva that took the striker under his wing and helped him settle in at Groningen and as he learned the way of life in the Netherlands, his performances began to improve on the field. Once Suarez settled, he managed to finish his season with 15 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions which was enough to attract attention from Ajax.
Suarez immediately settled into the Ajax team when he arrived in 2007 as he scored in his league debut and then scored twice in his home debut for his new side. Suarez quickly became a fan favourite at Ajax as he was able to impress immediately as he didn’t have to adapt to Dutch football as he had already done that at FC Groningen. Suarez enjoyed a wonderful four years at Ajax as he scored an impressive 81 goals in 110 appearances.
The departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea led to Liverpool snapping up two new strikers in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll for a large sum of money but Suarez went to Anfield known as a proven goal scorer. Unfortunately, his form from Ajax did not continue into the start of his Liverpool career despite his debut goal against Stoke at Anfield as Suarez only managed to score four goals in his first five months at Liverpool.
The 2011-12 season didn’t bring about much improvement for Luis Suarez as he only managed 11 league goals for Liverpool which was poor by his standards and Liverpool finished 8th in the league with their only highlight of the season coming when they won the League Cup. It was clear that Suarez still hadn’t found a way to truly settle into English football yet to show more of his capabilities but his form began to pick up in 2012-13 season especially when Daniel Sturridge arrived to partner Suarez up front.
This lethal partnership led to Suarez scoring 23 goals in 33 league appearances and it could have been even more if he didn’t bite Chelsea defender Ivanovic which led to him missing the final part of the season and the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Despite the fact that Suarez did miss the first 5 league fixtures of the 2013-14 season, he still managed to finish the season as the Premier League top goal scorer with 31 goals in 33 league appearances.
This was twenty league goals more than his tally two seasons beforehand which is a huge improvement for any striker at any level. After the 2013-14 season any club in the world would have loved to have a Luis Suarez in their side even though he has serious disciplinary problems which Barcelona didn’t really seem to care about when they splashed the cash to sign him from Liverpool in the summer.
It is clear to see that Suarez needs time to adapt to the playing style of Barcelona and the way of La Liga before he can bring his outstanding talent to his new club. Suarez shows a pattern when he moves to a new country to sign for a new club as it took him time to adapt to the Dutch league and it took him time to adapt to the English league and it will take him time to adapt to the Spanish league.
It also has to be taken into consideration that this is a player that missed the entire Barcelona pre-season and the first two months of the 2014-15 La Liga season so he is playing catch up with his teammates in terms of match fitness and being able to fit in to Barcelona’s style of play. Barcelona are also currently serving a transfer ban which means they can’t sign any players until 2016 so they really have no choice but to attempt to help Suarez adapt to life in Barcelona and give him time to return to form.
Featured image by L.F.Salas via Flickr Creative Commons