SANTA CLARA, USA - Saturday, July 30, 2016: Liverpool's injured Lucas Leiva during the International Champions Cup 2016 game against AC Milan on day ten of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Levi's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Galatasaray director: “We are no longer pursuing Lucas Leiva”

Galatasaray director Levent Nazifoglu has revealed the Turkish Super Lig side have pulled out of the race to sign Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva.

Lucas was reported to have asked for 24 hours to decide whether he would join the Istanbul giants, as he mulled over ending his lengthy spell with the Reds.

One day later, and it seems the Brazilian has made his mind up, as Nazifoglu confirmed on Wednesday.

“We are no longer pursuing Lucas Leiva,” he told reporters.

“We will continue efforts to sign alternative names instead.”

This comes as something of a surprise, given Lucas’ likely peripheral role under Jurgen Klopp in 2016/17.

While the German was believed to be keen on keeping Lucas on Merseyside for the new campaign, Klopp was reluctantly willing to sanction his departure in search of regular first-team football.

But Lucas, who heads into his 10th season as a Liverpool player this month, looks poised to remain with the club.

This seemingly serves to end a long-running saga that saw Galatasaray reiterate their interest on a number of occasions throughout the summer, with manager Jan Olde Riekerink identifying Lucas as an ideal replacement for Felipe Melo.

ST. LOUIS, USA - Monday, August 1, 2016: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva walks off after being sent off against AS Roma during a pre-season friendly game on day twelve of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Busch Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Lucas stays with the Reds, he could find his opportunities limited to sporadic outings at either centre-back or in defensive midfield, and would be low down the pecking order in both.

However, with Klopp an admirer of Lucas’ talents in either role, he could still prove a useful asset for 2016/17, particularly if the likes of Emre Can and Dejan Lovren suffer injury.

Klopp is pushing forward in his efforts to find new clubs for both Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli, with Crystal Palace reopening talks with the Reds over a deal for the former.

Meanwhile, Serie A side Chievo have expressed an interest in signing Balotelli, who spent last season on loan with AC Milan.

The departures of Benteke and Balotelli would swell Liverpool’s coffers significantly, though whether Klopp will make any further additions this summer remains to be seen.

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