Lucas Leiva's Imminent Liverpool Departure Is Best for Both Parties

Max Munton@thisisanfieldLiverpool CorrespondentJuly 8, 2014

Lucas Leiva’s time at Liverpool may well be up if reports this week are to be believed, but it may well be the best way forward for both player and club. 

A move to Italy looks likely for Lucas, with Simon Jones of the Daily Mail claiming Inter Milan are interested in his signature and Ben Jefferson of The Express suggesting a reunion with Rafa Benitez at Napoli could be on the cards. 

Make no mistake about it: Lucas has been a fantastic servant to Liverpool over the last seven years—professional, influential and a key, steady figure in rapidly changing times for the club. Liverpool owe a lot to him.

However, from a player who looked set to marshal the centre of the park for the Reds as a fantastic ball-winning midfielder for years to come, two long-term injuries have stuttered Lucas’ career over the last two years.

His opportunities dwindled in the second half of Liverpool’s 2013-14 campaign with further injury problems and Steven Gerrard being relocated as a deep-lying playmaker.

The 27-year-old’s performances began to lack energy, rhythm or pace in Brendan Rodgers’ otherwise frantic and relentless attacking-focused side.

The injuries, combined with fatigued performances late on in the campaign, hampered his international chances, and he was left out of Luis Felipe Scolari’s Brazil squad for the World Cup.

From being a big part of Liverpool’s first team, Lucas’ career has quickly dampened to becoming cover for the likes of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson.

Lucas should be in the prime of his career right now, but with limited first-team opportunities worsened by the arrival of defensive midfielder Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen, is Liverpool the best club for him to further his career at?

Chris Bascombe of The Daily Telegraph wrote in May of Lucas’ possible departure this summer: "The popular Brazilian would undoubtedly be retained as a squad player if he wished, but he is at a point in his career where he wants to be a permanent starter."

If the opportunity to play a permanent role in a midfield elsewhere surfaced, Lucas would do well to take it rather than become a forgotten man at Anfield. 

It took less than one day after returning to training at Melwood on Monday for transfer speculation to mount and for him to remove mentions of Liverpool from his Twitter account. Did Rodgers speak to him about his future upon his return to Merseyside? 

Whilst Liverpool need to build that squad for an assault on both the Premier League and the Champions League, Lucas will not develop back into the player he was two years ago without regular football.

If Liverpool cannot give him that, it may be time for the player and the club to go their separate ways.

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