Luis Suarez's long rumored reunion with former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi is reportedly closer to being a reality, with the Uruguayan international set to swap Brazil's Gremio for Major League Soccer's Inter Miami this offseason.
He is expected to sign a one year deal for Miami, per Fabrizio Romano, but will have the option to play at least another season in MLS. He would be the latest high-profile signing for the South Florida club, which brought in Messi as well as his former Barcelona colleagues Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba over the summer.
The deal would not take up one of Miami's Designated Player spots as instead Miami would use Targeted Allocation Money to keep his salary below the DP threshold, according to the Miami Herald. This structure will help Miami continue to pursue putting pieces around Messi as they seek to maximize the superstar's time in MLS.
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Suarez played in Gremio's final home game of the Brasileirao season on Saturday, in which he scored the game's lone goal against Vasco da Gama. He then waved goodbye to the local supporters upon the conclusion of the match, and ahead of the team's final game of the season against Fluminense.
The 36-year-old joined Gremio for the 2023 season on a two-year deal, but much of his spell in Brazil has been plagued by rumors that he would either retire or depart before his contract expired. Despite that, he was an integral part of the team and has played 32 league games and scored 15 goals during that time. Gremio currently sit in fourth place with one match to go.
Suarez and Messi played at Barcelona together from 2014 to 2020 and made a prolific pairing up top. The ex-teammates, alongside Alba and Busquets, won the UEFA Champions League in 2015 and the Club World Cup that year, as well as four La Liga titles before Suarez left for Atletico Madrid.
How much can Suarez contribute?
Suarez's pedigree isn't in doubt, but at 36 his physical condition remains a concern. The Uruguayan striker has been open about the struggles he's had with knees. Suarez shared in an interview with Radio 980 sport some of what he has to go through in order to get his body in shape.
"Days before ach game I take three pulls, and hours before playing I get an injection. If not, I can't play. I have to think that in maybe five years I won't be able to play 5-a-side with my friend."
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What even is TAM?
As always when a major player moves to MLS, the league's byzantine financial rules rear their ugly head. Teams get three DP slots which they can use to sign players outside of normal salary cap rules. They also get TAM. TAM is a pool of money that can be used to contribute to players salaries to bring them below the DP threshold thus offering yet another way for teams that are so inclined to work beyond the salary cap. Using TAM money to contribute to Suarez's salary means they can add him to a roster which already contains Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba while still maintaining some degree of flexibility to continue to add more pieces around Messi.