Analysis: Why Liverpool's Lucas Leiva represents a superb signing opportunity for Tottenham

Lucas Leiva

Liverpool are looking at selling Lucas Leiva this summer, reports say.

According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, Liverpool are willing to listen to offers of around £8 million for Lucas Leiva following an alleged break-down in the relationship between him and boss Brendan Rodgers.

The Brazil international made just 16 Premier League starts last season as he struggled for appearances owing to the heavy competition for places.

Predominantly a defensive midfielder, Leiva finds himself up against Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Emre Can and Joe Allen for a spot in the Reds’ often two-man midfield.

While Brendan Rodgers seemingly has a surplus of defensive-minded midfielders, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino in contrast falls desperately short in that department.

Against Manchester United in Spurs’ season-opener, the questionable fitness of regular first-teamer Ryan Mason forced the Argentine boss to name defender Eric Dier alongside Nabil Bentaleb in midfield.

Beyond Bentaleb and Mason, Spurs can only count on youngster Dele Alli as a viable alternative following the summer sales of Etienne Capoue, Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho.

The North Londoners are evidently in the market for a new defensive-minded midfielder and if reports are to be believed, there is one available who would undoubtedly make a difference to Spurs’ first-team.

  TeamTackles Won per GameInterceptions per GameDef Duels Won per GameAerial Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAccurate Passes per GameDispossessed per GameAppearances
Lucas Leiva Liverpool 2.8 1.55 6.05 1.6 5.85 45.8 0.45 20
Ryan Mason Spurs 1.97 1.59 4.97 0.56 4 42.56 0.59 32
Nabil Bentaleb Spurs 1.67 2.44 5.11 1.41 6.41 52.07 0.81 27

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Leiva compares favourably to Spurs’ first-team duo of last season and betters them in four of the seven midfield categories.

The former Gremio man averaged more tackles, defensive duel winners and aerial duel winners per Premier League match while also proving more careful in possession, being dispossessed less frequently.

Moreover, Leiva averages more ball recoveries and accurate passes than Mason, resulting in the Brazilian bettering the England youngster in six of the seven categories.

At 28, the Liverpool man has plenty of time left at the top of his game and his experience, both in England and on the international stage, could be hugely beneficial for Tottenham’s younger players.

Spurs have just over three weeks left of the transfer window remaining, and with their defensive midfield search so far proving ineffective, they would be mad not to consider Leiva as a genuine option.

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