Liverpool’s attempts to sign Southampton defender Dejan Lovren could depend on freeing up some mullah and if rumours doing the rounds are true, that could well mean selling Brazilian midfielder Lucas to Italy.
It’s thought old boss Rafael Benitez is keen on taking the 27-year-old – whom he first signed for Liverpool – to current club Napoli, while Inter Milan are also keeping tabs on the midfielder.
After landing two Saints players already this summer, Brendan Rodgers is having difficulty reeling in a third as the south-coast club have rejected the Reds’ initial bid of £20m and demanded £25m for their man.
While this is an understandable stance from Saints, given Liverpool resemble a pack of hyenas tearing at a carcass, it would be folly for the Premier League runners-up to react by selling one of their best midfielders just to meet the lofty asking price.
Following a few bumpy seasons after arriving from Gremio, Lucas’ breakthrough campaign came in 2010/11 when his rock-steady performances in the defensive-midfield role earned him the fans’ player-of-the-season award.
Although he has been afflicted by injuries during his spell on Merseyside, Lucas was once again an effective cog in Liverpool’s tilt for the title, where he was so nearly rewarded with a Premier League winner’s medal.
According to WhoScored.com no other Liverpool midfielder hit the 90 per cent pass completion mark in the top flight that the Brazilian during 2014/15 – while in overall defensive stats only Jon Flanagan bettered him, where he was the top interceptor at the club.
In the Champions League particularly, his calmness in possession will be such a valuable asset, where squad depths will also be fully tested.
Many will point to the addition of Emre Can in the transfer window as cover, but Lucas is the polished article and the German is still a rough stone.
Liverpool are currently 25/1 shots to win the Champions League in ’14/15.
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