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Veteran Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has emerged as a surprise target for newly promoted side Brighton & Hove Albion, as per the claims from The Mirror.
Chris Hughton’s side earned the direct promotion from the EFL Championship after finishing the season in 2nd place. They are planning on adding players with some degree of Premier League appearance ahead of next season and have locked in on the Brazilian midfielder who has been a key player for the Reds in recent months.
Lucas has been with the Reds for close to ten years now, having joined the club from Brazilian side Gremio in the summer of 2007. He has grown into a vital player for the Merseyside outfit. However, under Jurgen Klopp this season, the 30-year old had found first-team football hard to come by in the early parts. But with injuries to key personnel, he has been used much more regularly in recent months and has been a vital member of the team’s bid for Champions League football next season.
The 30-year old has made 30 appearances across all competitions this term, scoring once and setting up 4 goals. Out of those 30 games, however, only 12 have been Premier League starts. In a recent event held to commemorate his time with the Reds, Lucas admitted that he wanted to play more and hinted that he might leave at the end of the season when his contract with the club expires. He was quoted as saying by The Telegraph:
“There is no doubt about my commitment to Liverpool, I just need to wait until the end of the season, work hard and make a decision together with the club.
“If the time comes for me to go somewhere else I think I will leave with the feeling that I did everything I could.
“I think I can help a lot, off the pitch of course, but on the pitch as well.
“Playing time [will play a part], I wouldn’t like to just be around. I feel I have many years that I can still play at the top level.”
In the past 10 years, Lucas has been a very good servant for the club, despite being hampered by several long-term and career-threatening injuries over the course of his spell with the Merseysiders. The injuries never really allowed him to grow into the player that he could have been, but the Brazilian has given it his all for the club. But with no talks over a new contract and the player himself wanting to play more than what he is currently doing, an exit seems like a definite possibility.
Brighton have had a great season in the Championship and if not for a slip up against Aston Villa on the final day of the season, they would have ended up as the title winners of the competition. But, after having ended a 34-year wait to return to the top-flight, they will be intent on putting on a strong showing in the next campaign.
Signing someone of the ilk and the experience of the £6.8m rated midfielder will definitely aid them a great deal in putting up a fight in the upcoming season. The 30-year old defensive midfielder has made a total of 344 appearances for Liverpool until now, of which 249 have come in the Premier League. The amount of experience that he will bring to the table, along with his leadership qualities on the pitch and in the dressing room will be invaluable to any team – especially for a club that is playing Premier League football for the first time in more than 30 years.
Despite being underused by Jurgen Klopp this season, Lucas has managed to do well each time he has been required by the team, except for those few games where he played as a centre-half. And at 30, he still has quite a few years of football left in him. While wages might prove to be a stumbling block, someone with such vast experience and the know-how of the English top division, coming in for free as his Liverpool contract is set to expire at the end of the season, will no doubt be an excellent addition for the Seagulls and they should go all out for Lucas.