Liverpool could be preparing to offload midfielder Lucas Leiva in order to raise the funds and free up a squad place for transfer target Fabian Delph, reports The Mirror.
The Merseysiders have tipped as favourites to sign the Aston Villa midfielder whose contract is up at the end of the season but they may need to clear some space before he arrives.
Lucas has not been a guaranteed starter under Brendan Rodgers and is often overlooked by the former Swansea City manager despite Liverpool’s desperate need for a defensive midfielder with his qualities.
The Brazilian is reported keen for a reunion with current Napoli Rafael Benitez, who originally brought him to Anfield as manager of Liverpool in 2007.
Benitez has reportedly been after Lucas’ services for over a year now as he looks to bring Champions League football back to the Stadio San Paolo.
Rodgers is continuing to lay the foundations for Liverpool's post-Steven Gerrard plans who will leave Anfield after 28 years of affiliation to join LA Galaxy.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Miralem Pjanic and Lars Bender have all been discussed as potential replacements for the former England captain but Delph seems to be the target Rodgers is chasing with the most enthusiasm.
But the Reds may face a stern test to bring Delph to Merseyside as Tottenham Hotspur are rumoured to also have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old.
The Great Gonzalo
Rumours of Lucas’ exit come in the wake of speculation linking Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain travelling in the opposite direction.
Liverpool have been linked with a £30 million move for the Argentinean striker but the rumours are expected to be fairly spurious in nature.
Nevertheless, talk of a Benitez/Lucas reunion could point towards a beneficial part-exchange deal that would help Liverpool recycle their midfield options as well as enable them to bolster their front line at a slight discount.