Following widespread rumours of Liverpool interest in Inter Milan’s deep lying playmaker Mateo Kovacic, word out of Italy suggests the Reds could end up with a bargaining chip in Lucas Leiva, who many believe Brendan Rodgers considers expendable this summer.
Kovacic, or so the reasoning goes, is only available because Inter manager Roberto Mancini is desperate to bring in a capable holding midfielder and doesn’t favour Kovacic in the deeper role he’s most suited for, making him surplus to requirements despite his clear talent and potentially useful as a way of raising funds to bring in the player Mancini really wants.
That player is supposed to be Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, who Mancini of course managed in his days with the Citizens. If Toure can’t be secured, though, Gazzetta Dello Sport claim Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva—another player Mancini knows well from his time in England—is his second choice.
While many Liverpool fans credit Lucas’ presence with last season’s improved form beginning in December and ending around when Lucas fell injured late on, there has been a lot of speculation by outlets with sources inside Anfield that he’s on the chopping block and could be sold to fund Liverpool’s summer spending.
Add it all up and it’s easy to see where the rumours are heading: Mancini doesn’t value Kovacic’s skill-set in the deep lying role, but following the success of 2013-14 with a midfield anchor whose best qualities were in the attack, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool do. Meanwhile, Rodgers doesn’t value Lucas’ skill-set as a holding midfielder but Mancini does—at least if he can’t get Yaya Toure.
It all ends with Liverpool sending Lucas and cash to Inter for Kovacic. And it’s the kind of rumour that, love it or hate it, seems all too easy to believe given what is known when it comes to the various managers, players, and clubs who are all wrapped up in it.
There may not be any truth to it, of course, but with it having been reliably reported that Liverpool want Kovacic and at least don’t view Lucas’ retention as essential, it’s a rumour—or set of rumours, really—that cannot be dismissed out of hand.
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