Lucas Leiva was going to see out his Liverpool contract before leaving on a free this summer in search of more regular playing time, departing as one of the longest-serving foreign-born players in club history and something of a cult favourite for his undervalued skillset and quietly determined approach.
That was the consensus. That was what every report said. It turns out, though, to have been built on a faulty foundation of thinking Lucas’ contract expired this summer, something that everyone seemed to agree on but that it turns out wasn’t actually the case. Instead, the Brazilian has a year to go.
“I have another year of contract with Liverpool,” Lucas said following the final game of the 2016-17 season as he and many of his teammates prepared to head to Australia for a post-season friendly against Sydney FC, throwing a spanner in nearly a season’s worth of assumptions when it came to his future.
Since last summer’s last, latest nearly departure for the veteran midfielder, the story had stayed the same. Lucas had a year to go, would provide valuable depth and mentorship while still at the club, and would leave on good terms and with everyone’s blessing when the summer of 2017 rolled around.
He may still go, of course. But that hardly seems as certain now as it did just a few days ago, and based on how many times in the past Lucas has nearly departed the club, as long as he’s still under contract it would be foolish to assume he’s going to be heading anywhere but on holliday this summer.
“I’ll probably go on vacation now and have a talk with Jürgen Klopp, with the owners,” he added. “I think that after ten years it’s not a matter of negotiation but rather of finding a solution that’s good for both parties.”