Lucas Leiva still has a year left on his Liverpool contract, but after a decade spent at the club and no longer one of the first names on the teamsheet, it seems likely the 30-year-old midfielder will be moving on. Seeing out that last year of his deal isn't out of the question, but it's more likely a question of where than if Lucas goes.
As to that question of where, Lucas spoke to Radio Atlantica in Brazil today and sent a clear signal: he would like to head back to Gremio to see out the rest of his career at the club he grew up at, though he knows it may not be as simple as that. He also revealed that his former club have already been in contact with Liverpool.
"There was an offer from Gremio in January but I wanted to complete ten years at Liverpool," said Lucas, who returned to Brazil following Liverpool's post-season trip to Australia. "Now in this window we have had conversations, but nothing official. I do not hide my desire to return to Gremio, but there are several factors."
If Lucas is eager to return, he will know that he will need to take a significant pay cut to do so, and so if the main thing stopping a deal taking place in January was wanting to see out a decade at Anfield rather than wages, it's likely that wouldn't hold up a move. The transfer fee, though, could prove a tricky matter.
The club have signalled to the player that if he wants to move on they will do their best to find a suitable deal to let him head to his desired destination, but that doesn't mean they'll be willing to let him go for too far below market rate—in that case, it might make more sense to keep him around at the club for one more year.
Matters could also be complicated by reports of interest from Besiktas as well as newly promoted Brighton and Newcastle, with the later two in particular likely to be willing to offer a decent fee and matching wages to what Lucas is currently on. It might all be enough to at least push back his Brazil return for a few more seasons.