Leiva in Napoli link: Rodgers eyes easy cash to fund Lovren deal
According to reports in the British media, holding midfielder Lucas Leiva could be the sacrificial lamb in Liverpool’s pursuit of Southampton centre back Dejan Lovren.
The Reds, 9/1 to win the Premier League next season, are steadily gaining momentum in what is proving to be an eventful transfer window. They have already had a £20m bid turned down for Croatia international Lovren, with the Saints understood to be holding out for £25m.
Rickie Lambert [£4m], Emre Can [£10m], and Adam Lallana [£25m], are already secured as signings and Brendan Rodgers is now ramping his acquisition strategy up to the next level. Lovren has been identified as the man to bring defensive stability to a rearguard that leaked goals where they shouldn’t have last term. Defensive midfielder Leiva is reportedly seen as collateral damage, in order to free up easy funds, without dipping too much into available reserves or cash made available through the much anticipated transfer of Luis Suarez, that could bring in up to £80m.
Reading between the lines and filtering the conjecture, the fact that Liverpool’s steely Brazilian has been linked with a move away is in the grand scheme of things purely academic. Without taking an in-depth analysis of Anfield’s balance sheet, no-one knows exactly how much cash is available, and what funds have been allocated where.
However, Rodgers now has a number of central midfielders on his books. Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho, Can, and even Lallana. Add Leiva, and that makes seven. Realistically, the Northern Irishman will only play three at any one time, so the 27-year-old could be on his way.
Napoli hold a credible interest in the player, however want him on loan initially with an option to buy. It is likely chiefs on the red half of Mersyside will negotiate a deal whereby they are guaranteed a fee, whether up front from the Italian club, or they sell elsewhere. Rafa Benitez knows Leiva, having signed him for Liverpool, and a reunion could on the cards in Naples.
Leiva could well be the first of a few to leave the club this summer, as Rodgers brings in better quality to compete on four fronts, though gets rid of any personnel demeed surplus to requirements and raises more funds at the same time.
At 20/1 to win the Champions League next campaign, they could represent good value, with Rodgers already proving to posses a competitive streak.