Liverpool have been advised to reconsider the reportedly imminent sale of Lucas Leiva. In the absence of a genuine holding midfielder player, three-time league champion Jan Molby believes the Brazil international has a role to play this season.
Lucas made just 16 Premier League starts last term and was left out of the squad for the opening day defeat of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. The Daily Mail has reported that Italian sleeping giants AC Milan are interested in bringing the 28 year old, valued at £8m by the Reds, to the San Siro.
Despite making seven summer signings, Brendan Rodgers has wafer-thin options at the base of his midfield. Joe Allen will miss the first month of the season with a hamstring problem, leaving Lucas as the only recognised defensive midfielder at the club. As a result, Molby believes Liverpool would be foolish to part ways with him.
"I really hope he stays because I still think he will have a part to play this season," the Dane told the Liverpool Echo. "It's important you have a number 6 who is a proper number 6 and very much a team player – someone whose ambition is for the team rather than himself.
"I've always liked Lucas. You have to have admiration for the way in which he has stuck at it. He believed he was good enough to succeed at Liverpool and he's proved that was the case.
"His form was outstanding before he suffered that serious knee injury in 2011. I don't think he's ever got back to that level and he's been in and out under Brendan Rodgers but he still has a lot to offer. He's a popular figure in the dressing room and has a lot of experience in a squad full of players who are relatively new to the club.
"I think there will be games where you need Lucas. I don't see Emre Can playing that holding role. I don't think he has the mindset or the discipline for it as he will feel he has more to offer further up the pitch."