Lucas Rodrigues
Lucas is planning on staying in South America.

Liverpool will have a hard time securing Brazilian star Lucas Rodrigues' signature, with the £20 million-rated playmaker insisting he wants to stay in South America for the next year at least.

Since moving through the youth ranks at Sao Paulo, Lucas has starred for the side, scoring 13 goals from the midfield in 53 appearances. Numerous clubs in England and Europe have been connected to the 19 year old, who was listed as one of FIFA's players to watch in 2011.

Liverpool were amongst the English giants hoping to sign Lucas, and his representative confirmed as much at the end of November, telling reporters: "Chelsea, Inter Milan and Liverpool have demanded details from me and Sao Paulo knows the situation.

"At the moment they are not interested. Perhaps in the summer they may negotiate but only an enormous offer could change things as I want continuity for the player for a couple of years."

While Chelsea were said to also be chasing Lucas as well, Liverpool might have the edge, with the Merseyside club able to already offer Brazilians Lucas Leiva and Fabio Aurelio to help the former Corinthians youth player settle in.

But Lucas appears to have his heart set on staying in Brazil, on the belief that the club have big ambitions for the year ahead.

"I expect a better 2012 for myself and the club. Our squad is strong, and with more signings we will get even better," he said.

"I will stay at Sao Paulo. You will see a more motivated Lucas who has a desire to succeed. We lacked a title in 2011 and that is objective for the New Year."

Liverpool are on the lookout to bolster their squad in the January transfer window, and Kenny Dalglish has himself admitted that if the right player were made available, the club have money to spend in his third transfer window in the managerial position at Anfield.

The club are said to be on the lookout for an up-front player to support the struggling Andy Carroll, along with the now suspended Luis Suarez. Defenders are also high on the side's list, after Leiva suffered a season ending injury towards the end of last year. And while Lucas could have provided the Reds with more support in the middle, the club will have to wait at least a year If they hope to sign the youngster.