Lucas signs new Liverpool deal
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has signed a new long-term contract with the club. The Brazil international is currently enjoying his best season at Liverpool since arriving from Gremio in the summer of 2007 for £5 million.
"For me it was an easy decision because I know how big Liverpool are and I can see Liverpool are committed to me and are planning for a future with me," said Lucas. "The effort from the club was amazing and that makes me feel an important player. That's why it was an easy decision."
Lucas has grown in stature as a central midfielder following the departure of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano in recent seasons and made his 100th Premier League appearance against Wigan in February.
With the 24-year-old's previous contract having just over a year to run and continued speculation about Liverpool renewing their interest in Blackpool's Charlie Adam in the summer, there had been suggestions Lucas could be on his way out.
Only this week he was linked with Serie A side Napoli, but the likeable Brazilian always insisted he wanted to remain at Anfield and has got his wish.
"I am pleased with the way Liverpool tried to keep me and now I want to keep doing my best for them," Lucas said. "I don't think people thought I could stay here for so long, but now I want to just keep on improving.
"I am really happy. The last few weeks have been really good for me and now I have signed a new contract and can spend more years at Liverpool. I will do my best all the time and try to help the club to be bigger and bigger, if that's possible."
Manager Kenny Dalglish praised Lucas not only for his work on the pitch, but his attitude off it. "He is a smashing lad to have around the football club but he hasn't been signed for that, he has been signed because of what he does on the pitch," said Dalglish.
"Certainly since I came in he has been a great asset to the team and has done tremendously well. He's happy to be here and play for the club and he's getting everything that he deserves at the moment - including being a fixture in the Brazilian team - because of what he's done on the pitch."