11 Sept 2015

Transfer Stunner: Rodgers keen to swap 'outstanding' Liverpool star for 'excellent' €15m attacker.

This week, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva confirmed that he came 'very close' to leaving Anfield this summer, but insisted that he wants to be an 'important player' for the team this season. Brendan Rodgers recently hailed Lucas as the club's 'best defensive midfield player', so on the face of it, the pair appear to have buried the hatchet. As I argued yesterday, though, Rodgers' praise for Lucas smacks of insincerity, and new reports today suggest that Liverpool's manager is still desperate to get rid of the Brazilian.

I just have one question: If Lucas is genuinely Liverpool's 'best defensive midfield player' (which is not really a compliment as Lucas is the *only* DM at the club), why did Rodgers try and sell him over the summer?

As I see it, the loss of both Henderson and Lallana forced Rodgers' hand, and left him with no real choice but to (begrudgingly) play Lucas, but if one or both of those players returns tomorrow, the Brazilian will almost certainly return to the bench.

As such, it's absolutely no surprise that Rodgers is still planning to exorcise Lucas from the squad. According to reports in Italy today:

* Rodgers still wants to sell Lucas, and he'll try to shift him again during the January transfer window.

* One of the alleged options being explored by the club is a swap-deal for 'excellent' AC Milan attacker Jeremy Menez.

The Reds were last linked with €15m-rated Menez in July, when CalcioMercato claimed that Liverpool made 'initial contact' with AC Milan to discuss the possibility of a transfer.

When asked soon after about the Liverpool transfer rumours, Menez's agent told reporters:

“In modern football every player is for sale. Liverpool and Monaco? A player who has scored 16 goals will be sought-after, but there’s nothing concrete.”

The Reds have been linked with Menez - nicknamed 'Houdini' - many times in the past:

* 2010: Rafa Benitez tried to sign Menez during the January transfer window, but the player decided to stay at AS Roma.

* 2011: Menez hinted that he'd leave Roma after a bust-up with Roma Coach Vincenzo Montella, and according to The Mirror, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish kept an eye on the winger.

* 2014: Brendan Rodgers reportedly considered putting in a £10m January bid for Menez.

* 2014: Sky Sports claimed that Liverpool were set to 'reignite interest' in £10m-rated Menez.

Some info about Menez:

* Milan contract expires: 2017

* Salary: €65k-a-week.

* Can play as a winger or a centre-forward

* Received a 4-match ban last season for directing a "blasphemous expression" at the fourth official following his red card against Genoa.

* After being a bit-part player for PSG, Menez is now a regular starter for Milan, and his stats have vastly improved as a result of being trusted by his manager:

- Milan: 16 goals/4 assists in 34 apps (Goal/assists every 1.6 games. Only Carlos Tevez scored more goals in Serie A last season)

- PSG: 15 goals/16 assists in 107 apps (Goal/assist every 3.4 games)

Swapping 'outstanding' Lucas for an attacking midfielder only makes sense if Rodgers is planning to bring in another DM. If not, then losing Lucas will weaken Liverpool's squad in a key area.

On the plus side, Menez is vastly experienced, and at the age of 28, he's in the prime of his career. Additionally, he has fire, passion, and personality, something which is severely lacking in Liverpool's squad.

A good deal?

Author: Jaimie K


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