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Rumour Mongering: Lucas Set for Napoli Loan

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Talk of a reunion with Rafa Benitez has resurfaced, with Lucas now reportedly set to join his former manager's Napoli side on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

David Banks

Since he took over as manager at Napoli last summer, Rafa Benitez has consistently been linked with a number of Liverpool players he managed during his time there. He managed to get Pepe Reina on loan for the 2013-2014 season, and for most of this summer there's been rumors that the former Liverpool boss is in for Daniel Agger and Lucas. Talk of a move for the former has cooled, possibly due to his injury--or his "injury"--but today there are reports out of Italy that the latter could be set for a loan move with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the season.

This comes from Sportmediaset, who had Liverpool linked with Mario Balotelli earlier this month. That doesn't necessarily mean anything one way or the other, but with an exit for Lucas discussed for most the summer, this isn't completely out of the blue. Their report mostly lines up with talk from the last few months, with "€2m to have the Brazilian midfielder on loan for one season, plus an option to buy for a further €10m."

They do go a step further in claiming that terms have already been agreed between the clubs, and unlike the ongoing Fabio Borini saga, this looks like one that could move relatively quickly given Lucas' reported openness to other possibilities:

"I can never say never. Today my thoughts are with Liverpool and I always leave that part of the proposals and boring affairs with my manager. If something good for me arises for me and the club, it might happen. But now I'm focused on having a good season for Liverpool."

Lucas will always remain a sentimental favorite, but it increasingly looks as though he's sliding down the midfield depth chart. He got the nod last weekend against Southampton and had a decent first half before dropping off markedly early in the second, and Liverpool looked far better with the energy and urgency of Joe Allen in his place. When Emre Can is fit, Lucas looks firmly fourth- or fifth-choice; Steven Gerrard will start nearly every match, as will Jordan Henderson, with Can and Allen featuring frequently and Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho likely seeing minutes deeper as well.

Minutes at Napoli would likely be available, and with Marouane Fellaini's deal collapsing due to injury, Lucas would arrive with a chance at regular time in a side that's expected to compete for a Serie A title and make strides in the Champions League as well.

It'll be a sad day when he does leave, but right now a move to Napoli might present a better fit than Liverpool.