Rumours are gathering pace this week that two young South Americans are to follow Yossi Benayoun out of the Anfield exit-door this summer. Left-back Emiliano Insua and midfielder Lucas Leiva are presumed to be Serie A-bound, with Fiorentina and Palermo interested in the Argentine and the Brazilian respectively. Although the much-maligned pair have received their fair share of criticism at Anfield, the lack of funds available at Liverpool means that Roy Hodgson may not be able to secure adequate replacements. Should Hodgson look to keep hold of Insua and Lucas?
In a situation that mirrors the nature of Benayoun’s transfer to Chelsea, Hodgson has alluded to the fact that a deal may already be in place to facilitate Insua’s £3.7m departure from Anfield. Speaking of the matter, Hodgson stated “I saw him play in the last three days and I like him both as a player and on a personal level. However, talks with Fiorentina started before I got here, so I don’t know how advanced they are. I cannot say if Insua will stay at Liverpool or not. I’ll have to discuss that with the club.”
Despite his inconsistent displays last season, 21-year-old Emiliano Insua frequently showed glimpses of his potential. Many have argued that Insua’s somewhat shaky showings were a result of being overplayed; former manager Rafa Benitez admitted that Fabio Aurelio’s injuries forced him to start Insua more often than planned. Insua’s ascension to first-team regular occurred during the midst of Liverpool’s most turbulent season in recent memory, and the Argentine clearly suffered as a result.
Notwithstanding his deficiencies, Insua managed to rack up five Premier League assists last season, a respectable tally for a young full-back. In addition to removing the first-team’s only senior left-back, Insua’s departure would rid the club of another ‘homegrown’ player, a careless move when considering the fact that new regulations concerning the make-up of Premier League squads are to come into force soon. Although the press have linked Liverpool with a move for Wigan Athletic’s Maynor Figueroa, there is no guarantee that Hodgson will be able to secure the Honduran’s signature.
Whilst negotiations concerning Insua’s transfer to Fiorentina are thought to be at an advanced stage, Lucas Leiva’s Anfield exit appears to be slightly more uncertain. Palermo have tabled an unspecified bid for the Brazilian, but the club have yet to accept the Italian side’s offer.
Starting 41 times last season, the oft-criticised midfielder admirably laboured in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield, impressing some sections of the Anfield faithful with his work-rate and commitment. Opta statistics for last season show that Lucas had some of the highest passing and tackling completion rates in the Premier League, commendable achievements when considering the dire nature of Liverpool’s season. Indeed, with Javier Mascherano angling for a move away from Merseyside, Lucas may be the only first-team defensive midfielder at Roy Hodgson’s disposal.
The perilous nature of Liverpool’s finances means that Roy Hodgson will probably be operating under a ‘buy to sell’ policy this summer. With the pair both under 24, it is fair to say that Reds fans have yet to witness the best from these players; the fact that both players have been capped by their illustrious national sides indicates their enormous potential. Whilst the sales of Insua and Lucas would help to boost the Liverpool coffers, I believe it may work to the detriment of the Anfield side.
Follow all things Liverpool at www.twitter.com/Liverpool_FFC
Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/zarifrasul