Over the past few years there have been plenty of rumours surrounding Lucas Leiva and his supposedly impending departure from Liverpool. They never seem to pan out, but fans still greet every new bit of gossip with at least some measure of dread. But if one report is correct, this time around might be the real deal.
According to Turkish news outlet Sabah, Lucas has reportedly agreed to terms with Super Lig giants Galatasaray. While details surrounding a transfer fee (if any) are scarce, the contact itself is supposedly worth upwards of £2.2 million.
This season has seen Lucas transition from his holding midfield role into a backup central defender, partly to compensate for his naturally decreasing speed and partly due to injuries that have befallen defenders such as Dejan Lovren. But while he’s done as well as can be expected, the results speak for themselves. Liverpool were out of the title race by February, had crashed out of both domestic cup tournaments, and are in the midst of a tense struggle to finish in the Top 4. Regardless of how this season ends, the back line needs some work, and Jürgen Klopp is likely all too aware of that stark reality.
One unknown factor in a possible move to Turkey is the length of Lucas’ current contract. A few reports have stated that his contract expires this summer, while the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce says he’s got one more year.
If Pearce is correct, a transfer fee would obviously have to be worked out in order for Lucas to make his move this summer. It’s unclear what kind of price Liverpool would set for the Brazilian, or indeed what (if anything) Galatasaray are willing to pay for him.
For his part, Lucas has made it clear that he wants regular minutes on the pitch. And as much as he loves Liverpool, if this club can’t give that to him, he’s willing to go find someone who will.
“I have always been very honest in terms of the trust with him. I had a few options to go. 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.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s current defender corps are expected to stick around next season, and rumours have surfaced that the club are going to try and lure Virgil van Dijk away from Southampton to the tune of £50 million. All of this adds to the growing pile of circumstantial evidence supporting Lucas’ impending departure.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bury my face in a pillow and begin the mourning process.