Liverpool Transfer Rumours: 5 Reasons the Reds Need to Keep Lucas at the Kop
Liverpool has been one of the most active clubs during the summer transfer window. The Reds have bolstered their current squad by acquiring midfielders Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing for a combined £49 million.
With the club's heavy spending there will undoubtedly be first-team casualties heading into the EPL season.
Manager Kenny Dalglish currently has a surplus of central midfielders with captain Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles, Jay Spearing, Christian Poulsen, Alberto Aquilani, Lucas Leiva, Henderson and Adam who will all be competing for a place in Liverpool's starting XI.
As Dalglish looks to offload a number of central midfielders this summer, Lucas has been rumoured to be be on his way out of the club. The 2010-11 Fans' Player of the Year had a breakthrough season for the Reds, which earned him a call up to the Brazilian national team for the summer's Copa America.
Lucas was undoubtedly one of Liverpool's key players last season and here are five reasons why the Reds need to keep him at the Kop.
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Lucas ended the 2010-11 season as the EPL's top tackler.
He had a stellar campaign with the Reds, emerging as a first-team regular under both Roy Hodgson and new manager Kenny Dalglish.
The Brazilian earned rave reviews for his ability to win the ball in midfield. Lucas was able to dispossess opponents with the sliding or standing tackle and then launch counter attacks with his solid distribution.
Lucas did well to break up opposition play with his good timing and tackling technique. He was able to make vital interceptions and last ditch tackles, providing great protection in front of the back line.
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Liverpool's midfield lynch-pin plays with outstanding determination and tenacity.
He may not be the most physically gifted or athletic footballer on the pitch, but Lucas has an exemplary work ethic. The Brazilian tirelessly closes down opponents, hounding them in possession and pressuring the ball.
Lucas shows great commitment in the tackle, rarely pulling out of 50-50 challenges. Anfield faithful have applauded the midfielder's determination and grit. With his hard-working and tenacious style of play, Lucas became one of the most important players for the Reds last season.
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At 24 years of age, Lucas has already made more than 100 appearances for the club.
The midfielder endured a tough start to his career in England, receiving heavy criticism from the team's supporters. Lucas seemingly lacked the confidence, composure and quality of a true Liverpool player.
Although he struggled with the transition, the Brazilian found his best form last season. Lucas was an ever present figure in the Liverpool midfield, emerging as a high quality defensive midfielder.
Since his move from Gremio in 2007, Lucas has made great strides while wearing the red shirt of Liverpool. He has gone from one of the most disliked players at the club to the Fans' Player of the Year.
While Adam and Henderson both have EPL experience, Lucas has already developed good chemistry with teammates and familiarity with the club. The Brazilian understands his role within the first team squad and the expectations of a Liverpool player.
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Lucas has developed into a solid player, but he has yet to reach his full potential.
The former Gremio and Brazil U-20 captain has the skill set to become an elite defensive midfielder.
Lucas has the technical ability and defensive qualities to continue as a first-choice Liverpool midfielder. With his strong passing and tackling skills, he could be the club's long-term solution at the defensive midfield position.
The 24-year-old has already become one of the EPL's best holding midfielders. Lucas is still refining aspects of his game, but he has the talent and potential to become a world-class player.
True Defensive Midfielder
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Although Liverpool has an abundance of central midfield talent, Poulsen and Lucas are the only true defensive midfielders.
Spearing has shown that he can play in a more defensive role. However, he could be more effective as an all action central midfielder. With Spearing possibly moving to Wolves on a season-long loan, Dalglish will most likely be left with the two veteran holding midfielders.
While Poulsen is an experienced player with polished defensive qualities, Lucas has emerged as the first choice defensive midfielder for the Reds. The Dane failed to live up to expectations in his first season with the club, as he saw limited first team action following the departure of Hodgson.
With the number of dynamic midfielders in the current squad, Lucas stands out as the only top quality defensive midfielder. His great form at club level earned him a call up to the Brazilian national team and in this summer's Copa America Lucas started every match for the Selecao.
As Dalglish looks for the right balance in midfield, the Brazilian's strong defensive abilities set him apart from the majority of Liverpool's midfielders. New signings Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson will be competing for first team opportunities this year, but Lucas has already proven to be a key player and the Reds' best holding midfielder.
If the club were to sell the Brazilian, Dalglish would lose one of his best players and a potentially world-class defensive midfielder.