Liverpool veteran Lucas Leiva could be edging closer to a January loan move to Inter Milan, if reports in Italy are to be believed.
Inter were reported to be preparing a loan bid for the Brazilian earlier this week, with Lucas then set to join the Serie A side on a permanent deal on the expiry of his contract in July.
Lucas has been touted to join Inter for a number of transfer windows, but with Jurgen Klopp impressed by the returning Joe Gomez, he now looks set to depart.
According to Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, this took a step closer on Thursday afternoon.
Lucas is said to have undergone a medical with the club, with a view to being available for Inter’s clash with Udinese on January 8.
The 29-year-old was then not pictured in Liverpool training on Thursday evening at Melwood, fuelling suggestions he was already in Milan.
However, Gazzetta dello Sport have also suggested that Inter director Zhang Jindong is keeping his options open regarding the signing of a midfielder, with Luiz Gustavo also a target.
But with BBC Sport, the Guardian and the Liverpool Echo among those to corroborate reports of Inter’s move for Lucas, it seems likely he will leave in January.
This would mark the end of a 10-year spell with the Reds, with Lucas having joined from Gremio in 2007.
But with Lucas dropping down the pecking order under Klopp, a move away from Merseyside would be a sensible one in terms of extending his career at the top level.
Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are all ahead of Lucas in Klopp’s centre-back ranks, while Gomez’s return from a long-term ACL injury provides the Reds with another option.
Gomez is yet to make the matchday squad under Klopp, but travelled for December’s 3-0 victory away to Middlesbrough.
The 19-year-old was at Melwood on Thursday, and with Matip still out with an ankle injury ahead of Liverpool’s New Year double-header, he could be named on the substitutes’ bench.
The Reds’ first clash comes against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, before a trip to Sunderland on January 2.
Whether Lucas is present for either could be a telling factor in his future this January.