Lucas Leiva is the longest serving current member of Liverpool’s squad, and while he isn’t a regular starter any more, his ability to fill in in midfield and defence along with his work with the club’s younger players has made him a respected and valued depth option who has managed 12 appearances so far this season.
Despite this, Marca have claimed that the club have sanctioned a loan deal that would see him head to Inter Milan for the next six months. An option to buy at the end of it would reportedly be included. Their claimed confirmation has since been picked up by the Daily Mail and other less than reputable English outlets.
Inter’s interest might be real, but beyond that it’s a hard rumour to accept at face value. Liverpool are in the midst of a title challenge, and Lucas has already been called on to play a not insignificant number of minutes in both defence and midfield this season. His departure would, potentially at least, leave a hole.
It would mean if there were any significant injuries or spells of fixture congestion, Jürgen Klopp would have to call on Joe Gomez in defence and Kevin Stewart in midfield. Gomez is a promising 19-year-old who has never played in a competitive match for Klopp and has spent the past 18 months out with a torn ACL.
Liverpool’s experience with Lucas’ own ACL tear should help to guide expectations for the kind of impact Gomez is likely to be able to make this season even if he does pass full fitness, not to mention speaking to the increased chance of secondary injuries for a player coming back from a very long layoff.
Stewart, meanwhile, has played seven games for the first team this season. He’s not a bad emergency or cup option, but it’s clear he is beneath Lucas on the current depth chart. None of which makes a Lucas departure impossible, just unlikely. Add in that it’s January and would only be a loan and it makes little sense.
Lucas would surely value more minutes, and a chance to move to Italy in search of playing time might appeal. But it’s not a move that makes sense in January—for the club or Lucas, who may not be playing as much as he’d like but has the chance to leave Liverpool with silverware if he hangs on six more months.