Liverpool gaffer insists on Leiva stay

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has conveyed his impression of the Brazilian wonder kid Lucas Leiva whom he signed from Brazilian club Gremio in the summer. Rafa says that he had had to fend off several clubs in the summer to convince the player to come to Anfield and is in no mood to actually wave the player goodbye in the summer.

Benitez says:

We’ve had offers for Lucas but we said no because we want to keep him.

Clubs have asked about him. Clubs in Italy and Spain – maybe ten in La Liga. Good clubs in Spain and clubs in Italy who will pay more money.

Lucas was the captain of Gremio and Brazil’s Under-20 team. He has two caps with the senior national team.

He’s a player with a very good mentality and quality. He’s very professional, focused and a fantastic player.

I don’t have any problem with him. If you need to take a penalty, (Steven) Gerrard will be there and Lucas can be there – he has a very good mentality.

When he first arrived here and needed to improve his English he was not playing.

I talked to him and he said, ‘Hey I’m okay, I’m improving’. He is learning and when I bought him I thought he’d be able to play in the big games like Inter in his first season.

So at least one midfielder is staying at Anfield beyond the summer. Good for Leiva really: he is just 21 and can only improve under Rafa Benitez.

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