Lucas heading to the Middle East

Liverpool’s defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to jump ship to Turkish club Galatasaray, despite obtaining a hamstring injury in pre-season training.

Lucas, who is the longest-serving Liverpool player remaining in the squad, has rumoured to have agreed personal terms with Galatasaray ahead of his proposed move to Turkey, despite carrying a hamstring injury.

Reports have also implied that the Brazilian accepted €2.5m per season contract with the Turkish club as well as a £3m deal being negotiated with Liverpool. The defensive midfielder was signed by former Liverpool manager & legend, Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2007. Last season, Lucas made 40 appearances for the Reds, but the arrival of Serb Grujic isn’t going to help matters with regards to his starting place.

Lucas was already set to miss Liverpool’s start to the Premier League – with his hamstring injury due to sideline him until mid-August. Galatasaray have a void at defensive midfield, as another Brazilian of their own, Felipe Melo, left the club last summer.

Whilst Lucas will always be remembered as a versatile & long-server of Liverpool’s squad in the last decade, he has only managed one goal in his whole Liverpool career in the league, from 223 league appearances. However, he has set a unique record at the club for being the first ever Brazilian player to score for Liverpool.

He was signed by former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez back in July 2007, and a year later he was even capped by his country for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. However, his form did start to wilt the season after his first, as Mascherano and Alonso had marshalled one of the most complete Liverpool midfield squads in history. He became unpopular with the supporters & was even booed off at Anfield, as he began to show his inexperience as a holding midfielder, having played in more of an attacking midfielder’s role at his previous club Gremio.

But what was admirable about the 22-year old was that he didn’t let the dip in form affect his confidence. Reds fans wanted Benítez to sell Lucas at the time, and as new signing Aquliani suffered from a hamstring injury when he arrived at Anfield, Lucas received more first-team football. In fact, only Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and Jamie Carragher had more caps than him in the 2009/2010 campaign.

The Brazilian, the following season, then did an excellent job at covering for Javier Mascherano, the central midfielder who was sold at the start of the 2010/2011 season. In fact, he won the Standard Chartered Player Of The Year. Good things were beckoning for him, until the horror injury at Stamford Bridge in November 2011, which ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.

His form did struggle after that injury a little, as he then became a rotational player and nothing else from there on in, leading to speculation about him leaving. Could Lucas be another Alberto Aquilani at Galatasaray? 

Well, they have several things in common.

1) Lucas is set to join despite a hamstring injury. Aquilani had an ankle injury when he arrived at Anfield in August 2009, and didn’t make his Liverpool debut until October 2009 (although Lucas has a injury which will bring him to full fitness sooner)

2) He has potential moving into his new club.

3) He’s very composed and reliant with the ball. Lucas’ form tends to increase as fixtures progress through the season.

Lucas has put an immeasurable shift in his long spell at Liverpool, going from a player which Liverpool fans dreaded, to one who’s often to rely on for games when you need calmness defensively.

Written by Stephen Lindell (@SteLindellLFC)



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