Lucas Leiva reckons no player will accept the no.8 at Liverpool which has been vacant since Steven Gerrard left the club in the summer, report the Daily Mail.
Our Brazilian destroyer thinks the weight of expectation will be too much for anyone to handle, and if he were offered it, he’d turn it down.
Lucas, our longest serving player since Gerrard left, discussed the trip Liverpool went on at the end of last season as a thank you for everything the departed skipper did, and predicted future players will turn down the no.8 as a result of its legacy.
“Like the fans I think we prepared ourselves for him not being there at the start of pre-season. We had a nice trip to Dubai — all the players — to say goodbye. We prepared it as a kind of surprise for him. We’d never done that before. We did it to show how much he would be missed. How much he means to us.
“But his locker was left free and nobody took the No 8 either. I don’t think people will take that number. I wouldn’t. It’s a big responsibility.”
There were heavy rumours that Liverpool will make Marko Grujic the next incumbent of the famous number, after Red Star Belgrade director Zvezdan Terzic openly claimed as much last week, via ESPN.
“Marko Grujic will sign a five-year contract with Liverpool where he will have a €1.2m annual net income, which means that he will have €6m from Liverpool. He’ll get No. 8 on the back.”
Grujic, who hasn’t officially sealed a deal to Liverpool yet, is said to have many of Gerrard’s footballing characteristics and is a central midfielder, but awarding the teenager the no.8 immediately seems a little foolhardy.
Surely it needs to be earned by either a big, proven name entering the club, or somebody already in the squad such as Emre Can or Jordan Henderson growing into it.
It’s certain that Lucas won’t take it mind, which is probably sensible – as his goal record resembles a centre-back who doesn’t come up for corners!