Liverpool legend John Aldridge has written in his column for the Liverpool Echo that it would be a huge mistake for the club to sell Lucas Leiva this month.
The Brazil international’s name has continued to crop up in exit rumours in recent weeks, despite breaking back into manager Brendan Rodgers’ first-team plans over the Christmas period, and he has now been linked with a reunion with former Reds boss Rafa Benitez at Napoli.
Serie A rivals Inter Milan are also said to be keen on landing his signature but, with Liverpool lacking another midfielder who can fill the holding role to the same standard, Aldridge believes it would make no sense to part with him at this moment in time.
“I saw a number of reports over the weekend that Lucas Leiva might be on the verge of leaving Liverpool,” he said.
“I have no idea if they’re true or not - time will tell - but I know one thing; I think we’d need to replace him straight away if he went.
“He’s done well of late. He’s unfussy and uncomplicated, and he plays that holding role better than anyone else at the club.
“If we had a replacement lined up, then maybe I’d understand the wisdom of letting Lucas go,” he continued. “But if not, then it strikes me as a strange decision, to say the least.
“But whether he goes or not, Liverpool need to sign a new midfielder this summer. A top one.”
Liverpool have been linked with a move for Aston Villa star Fabian Delph this winter, in a potential deal which would allow Lucas to head to Napoli, but reports up to this point have stated that Paul Lambert’s side are unwilling to part with the England international, despite his contract coming to an end in the summer.
Regardless, Delph doesn’t seem like a comparable replacement for the former Gremio star, having established himself as more of a box-to-box midfielder during his time in the West Mildands.