Liverpool may be close to losing the longest-serving player of the current team, as midfielder Lucas Leiva is reportedly on the verge of moving to Newcastle United. Bookmakers Sky Bet have installed the newly promoted club as the favourites to sign the defensive midfielder. It would be a move that would reunite Lucas with his former manager Rafa Benitez, who was responsible for bringing him into English football. Even though Lucas received a lot of criticism during his first couple of years at Anfield, his performances had dramatically improved in the recent past to make him an integral part of the team until Brendan Rodgers came in as the manager.
In the last couple of seasons, his first-team appearances have fallen to a bare minimum and it has been suggested that he may be sold in the summer transfer window. Lucas revealed a few months ago that he was close to leaving the club even as early as last summer, but manager Jurgen Klopp reportedly wanted him to stay. Perhaps, the German manager expected Lucas to play much more than his 24 league appearances in the 2016-17 season.
Lucas appeared to give a farewell to the Anfield crowd when he played in the last game of the season against Middlesbrough. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the length of his contract. While there have been several reports that Lucas’ contract expires this summer, James Pearce from the Liverpool Echo claims that the Brazilian’s contract runs out next summer.
Either way, Liverpool are expected to release the player so as to facilitate a free transfer rather than demand a fee for the player. After coming to the club as a £5 million signing from Brazilian outfit Gremio, Lucas has gone on to make more than 340 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions.
During this period, he has also been able to get international recognition and has featured in 24 games for the Brazilian national team. In terms of trophies, though, Lucas has suffered the most as he has been able to win just the League Cup back in the 2011-12 season. The midfielder’s best campaign with the club was back in the 2010-11 campaign when he was also named as the club’s Player of the Year.