Max Morland explains why it doesn’t make any sense for Liverpool to sell Lucas Leiva.
As the January transfer window nears its halfway mark, Liverpool are yet to conduct major transfer business. Whilst a number of players, including Dutch international Quincy Promes, have been linked with the Reds, it seems unlikely that Jürgen Klopp will look to add to his squad this month. However, as has been the case in almost every transfer window over the past few years, there has been speculation surrounding the future of Lucas Leiva, the Red’s longest serving player.
This time around, Inter Milan are the club rumoured to be interested in the midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of this season.
The club have reportedly sanctioned Inter Milan’s loan offer for the midfielder, who, if the move does go ahead, will join the Italian giants for the remainder of the season. Jürgen Klopp is seemingly confident that both Ragnar Klavan, who has recently jumped ahead of Lucas in the pecking order, and the returning Joe Gomez, can provide sufficient cover for the current centre-back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.
Whilst many would argue that Lucas is simply no longer able to keep up with the fast-paced, high-intensity nature of the Premier League, I think that he is a valuable option for Jürgen Klopp to have available from the bench. His experience and knowledge of the English game often proves highly beneficial to Liverpool especially in situations at the end of matches where the midfielder, who turned 30 on Monday, is used to tighten up the defence in the final few minutes.
Another factor to take into consideration is to the extent in which Liverpool would gain from the departure of their most experienced player. If Inter Milan were to secure a loan move for Lucas, they would likely be required to pay at least the majority of his wages, although this would be likely be of only minor significance to the club.
In the unlikely case that the Brazilian makes a permanent switch away from Merseyside, whether to Italy or elsewhere, the transfer fee would almost certainly be very low. The main question here is: would Liverpool benefit from an extra few million pounds, more than they would lose out from the departure of the club’s most experienced player? Personally, I don’t think so.
Furthermore, if the Reds do allow Lucas to leave the club, then why only on loan? The Brazilian is clearly past the peak of his career, and in spite of some recent claims by the player that he is still a long way from retirement, I can’t see any long-term future for the 30-year-old at Liverpool past the end of this season. If he is to leave the club, I think it would make much more sense for the deal to be on a permanent basis.
Even if the former Gremio midfielder is limited to substitute appearances these days, his ‘off-the-pitch’ contributions cannot be doubted. As one of the most experienced players at Jürgen Klopp’s disposal, Lucas is a fantastic role model for the younger players, and his attitude, professionalism, and dedication to the game should not go unnoticed.
Throughout the course of his decade-long Anfield career, Lucas has never been one to capture the spotlight, and nor will he ever be. In some ways, he often slips under the radar, but I feel that, for what he has contributed to Liverpool over the past 10 years, he should be appreciated by fans much more than he currently is. Yes, performances recently haven’t been quite up to the high standards the team has set this season, but, for any team challenging for the title, experience is vital, especially given that the current average age of the squad is under 26.
Of course, if the player does decide that he wants to move elsewhere in order to get more game-time, the club should, of course, allow a transfer to take place, but I think that the Reds should, at the very least consider what they could be losing out on by sanctioning his departure.