Report: Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva eager to join former Head Coach Rafael Benítez at NapoliLiverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva reacts after scoring a penalty against Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart during their Guinness International Champions Cup at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2014
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is eager to join up with former Head Coach Rafael Benítez at Napoli, according to reports.
The Independent on Sunday claims that the 27 year-old wants to make the switch after growing tired at the limited first-team football he's had at Anfield.
Lucas made just 20 starts in the Premier League last season, with manager Brendan Rodgers preferring to use captain Steven Gerrard as his deepest midfielder.
That lack of regular playing time was believed to be part of the reason the Dourados native was overlooked by former Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
This term, Lucas will now also have to compete with new €12 million signing [from Bayer Leverkusen] Emre Can for a first-team berth and the Independent on Sunday suggests he will look to move on if Benítez comes calling.
The Spanish tactician has been struggling to sign a new midfielder for much of the summer. Lyon’s Maxime Gonalons was his preferred target, but after a deal fell through, he’s reportedly moved on to Málaga’s Ignacio Camacho and Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini.
If an agreement for either of those two cannot be reached, then Lucas - considered a cheaper alternative - is expected to be targeted.
The Brazil international - capped 22 times - was brought to Liverpool by Benítez from Grêmio for £5 million in July 2007. He has gone on to make 243 appearances in all competitions for the Reds, scoring six goals, and was part of the side that won the 2011/12 Football League Cup.