Wednesday 26 October 2016

Newcastle want Lucas Leiva included in deal to take Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool

Luke Edwards

Published 19/07/2016 | 21:18

Liverpool's Lucas Leiva
Liverpool's Lucas Leiva

Newcastle United are interested in signing midfielder Lucas Leiva as part of the deal that takes Holland international Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool.

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez worked with Lucas during his time at Anfield and is a huge admirer of the Brazilian. It is even thought the 29-year-old could be offered the captaincy at St James’ Park to try and help persuade him to drop down to the Championship.

The Magpies have allowed club captain Fabricio Coloccini to return to Argentina this summer, after eight years on Tyneside, and although centre-back Jamaal Lascelles has been tipped to take the armband, the 22-year-old remains raw and only broke into the first team late last season. The captaincy could be too much of a burden.

Lucas is understood to be reluctant to play in the Championship, but his close bond with Benitez could sway things in Newcastle’s favour. With vast experience of playing at the highest level, the former Gremio player would instantly command respect in the Newcastle dressing room, if Benitez does want him to lead the side’s promotion challenge.

The Magpies will have little trouble matching Lucas’ wage demands, as they remain in good health financially, despite relegation, and will have a top flight budget in the Championship next season.

A fee has still not been agreed with Liverpool for Wijnaldum and it is thought Newcastle’s interest in Lucas could be one of the things holding up a deal being agreed.

Wijnaldum was allowed to return to Holland by Benitez after their pre-season trip to Ireland at the weekend and his move to Liverpool is expected to be finalised before the end of the week.

Although Newcastle want £27m for their top goalscorer last season, a compromise package worth between £20-25m is likely if they get a Liverpool player in return.

Another player mentioned as a possible makeweight is full-back Jon Flanagan, who has only recently returned from a long term injury.

Given the 23-year-old has only recently signed a long-term contract at Anfield, any move to Tyneside is likely to only be on loan and it remains to be seen whether Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is willing to let the player leave.

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