25 Aug 2015

Official: After 'talks' last week, Rodgers confirms transfer for £60k-a-week international is not happening

After being ignored by Brendan Rodgers for the first two games of the season, Lucas Leiva returned to the starting line-up tonight to help Liverpool keep another vital clean sheet. Clearly, the Brazilian still has the ability to make a difference at Anfield, but will he still be here after the transfer deadline?

Last week, the Liverpool Echo claimed:

"[Besiktas] are hoping the Reds will agree to sanction a season-long loan deal for Lucas"

Besiktas's official Erdal Torunogullar─▒ then confirmed the Turkish club's interest:

“Lucas [current salary: £60k-a-week] is a player on our shortlist, talks are ongoing. A loan deal is likely, and it could go ahead within the next two days.”

Well, talks may be ongoing, but it doesn't look like a transfer is going to happen.

Forty-five minutes before the Arsenal game, Rodgers described Lucas as Liverpool's 'best defensive midfielder'.

Then, when asked during his post-match press conference if he expects Lucas to be at Anfield after the transfer window closes, Rodgers told reporters:

"Yes, He came in at Arsenal and did a great job, and is very much part of what we want to do here [at Liverpool]".

This surely means that Rodgers isn't planning to sign another dedicated defensive midfielder, so keeping Lucas is absolutely the right decision.

The Brazilian put in an effective performance against Arsenal, and his presence freed up Milner, Coutinho et al to focus more on attacking.

The results were obvious: Liverpool created more chances, had more shots on goal, and - in the first-half at least - looked like a genuine threat going forward.

Of course, there's still a chance that Lucas - described in May by Jordan Henderson as 'outstanding' - will leave, and I doubt he was impressed by being subbed-off late in the game for an untested teenager.

I'd like to think that Rodgers has seen the light, and that he'll play Lucas regularly now, but despite his comments, I fully expect the Brazilian to be relegated back to bench duty when Henderson returns from injury.

In my view, Lucas should stay in the team for the foreseeable future, and Emre Can should be the one to make way for Henderson.

Author: Jaimie K


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