Ten years ago, then Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez brought Lucas Leiva over from Brazilian side Grêmio for around £5 million. Through all the ups and downs with the club, Lucas has remained a loyal servant, racking up over 300 appearances over the years.
Lucas, now 30-years-old, is likely to start the season considerably down the pecking order in midfield at Liverpool. Indeed, it is a situation he has found himself in over the past several seasons. Last year he had 31 combined appearances for the club (and one spectacular goal), but only 1100 minutes of Premier League action. For a player of his quality and experience, he surely feels he has more to contribute than he is currently afforded under Jurgen Klopp.
This rumor has the same kind of bittersweet feeling as when Daniel Agger returned to his boyhood club of Brøndby in the Danish Superliga. It is painful to see such a player go, but if he must, you want to see him end up in a decent situation. Reuniting with Rafa, in my view, certainly qualifies.
Personally, I would like to see Lucas see out his current contract at Liverpool. His experience on and off the pitch is certainly worth more than the few million offered by Newcastle. But if it allows Lucas a regular-ish starting spot, I really couldn’t blame him for wanting a fresh start with an old mentor.