He’s thirty. He’s not old. But he’s no spring chicken our Lucas Leiva. The demands of the Premier League multiply ever year with the injection of faster, stronger players. And the requirements of Jürgen Klopp’s preferred system and style of play make it such that Lucas will increasingly find himself out of matchday squads. His willingness to fill in at center back has been a boon for the player in the twilight of his Liverpool career. It has extended his stay in the team under Klopp. But times, they are a-changing for the Brazilian midfielder. Playing time will dwindle at Liverpool. But there’s a whole world of football clubs out there that would make good use of Lucas’ talents. And the player must be weighing heavily any decision to leave the club he’s spent a decade representing and all that goes along with that.
Enter Lazio. The Italian club has just dropped an initial bid of £5million on Liverpool’s lap. It’s understood that Klopp would gladly keep Lucas around as he’s proven to be a steadfast auxiliary player for club. But no one will stand in the player’s way if he decided on a fresh start, an opportunity to make a difference again on a regular basis.
This could put Lucas’ inclusion in the today’s matchday squad for the friendly with Wigan Athletic in a bit of limbo. And if the Lazio deal is acceptable to the Leiva household, the man himself and the fam we’ve come to love may be off before Liverpool even leave for Hong Kong this weekend.
That feeling your feeling is the feels. And it’s okay. You’re in a safe place.
Lucas is the longest-serving player in the squad right now, the elder statesman. He has made 346 appearances for Liverpool since signing from Gremio in 2007. Ten years a Red. Goals were hard to come by, as were assists and other business end numbers. But Lucas really shone as a defensive midfielder, with a sharp eye for cutting up play, crunching tackles, yellow cards, complaints to the ref. He’s done it all.
Elsewhere, Lucas may even find he can play in the attacking midfield role that brought him so much recognition in Brazil a decade ago. Serie A may be that destination. Lazio may offer that opportunity. I expect other offers may be incoming as Lucas still has plenty left to give on a football pitch.
So, don’t wait. Prepare your comfort food now.