Another January, another Serie A transfer rumour for Lucas Leiva. And by the end of the month — if his manager is to be believed — it'll be yet another fruitless bit of speculation. Going on ten years now, the Brazilian has been linked with a move away, usually to Italy, at least once a year. Few would've guessed that the polarising defensive midfielder would at any point be the club's longest serving player, but here we are.
Fresh off a match-winning performance against Plymouth in the FA Cup, the 30-year old shed some light on the most recent bout of rumour mongering, and he admits playing time is increasingly a factor in his decision making.
“I had a few options to go," revealed the former Grêmio midfielder. "I have to think about my long-term. I know I don’t have many years left here.
“I have to start to think about it. Liverpool is a place I love, there is no doubt about that. But this is more about thinking about my future as well. Game time, things like I this. I have to deal with it."
For those of us who rate Lucas — not only as a player, but as a beacon of values and characteristics we like to see the club associated with — hearing him speak on his love of the club yanks at something in our chest region. His admittance that it might soon be time to move on produces a different, less pleasing jolt. Naturally, no player is bigger than the club, and it has been more than a few years — and a couple of knee injuries — since Lucas was at the height of his powers, but seeing a loyal servant, a veteran of nearly 350 matches for the club, leave is going to sting more than a little. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be imminent.
“If, by the end of January, I am here, it will be great," he continued. "This is the best place for me to be right now.
“But I cannot tell you in two months' time, four months’ time or one year’s time. I have to think about my future.
“But it is all good. I am happy in this moment and I just have to go day by day.”
One day, those stupid Serie A rumours are going to be accurate. By all accounts, none of the next eleven days will be that day. Unlucky for the Italians, lucky for the Reds.