Toon want midfielder involved in Liverpool’s Wijanldum deal
Newcastle wanted Lucas Leiva included in the deal that could bring Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool.
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.
By Ben Kelly – @benkelly_10