By Alex Taylor

Lucas Leiva could be offered the captaincy by Newcastle to persuade him to drop down to the Championship.

The Telegraph claim that the Magpies are interested in signing midfielder  Leiva as part of a player-plus-cash deal that takes Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool.

It is said that the Liverpool midfielder is reluctant to play in England’s second tier but his relationship with Rafael Benitez could swing the deal.

Benitez signed Lucas, 29, from Brazilian side Gremio when he was Liverpool manager in 2007 and the midfield enforcer has been a stalwart of the Anfield team over the last nine years.

With vast experience of playing at the highest level, the Brazil international would instantly command respect in the Newcastle dressing room, if he was asked to lead the side’s promotion challenge.

Benitez has made Jamaal Lascelles skipper during the early preseason matches following the summer sale of Fabricio Coloccini.

The Telegraph report that Liverpool are still confident of signing Wijnaldum and a deal could be done later this week.

Although Newcastle want £27million for their top goalscorer last season, a compromise package worth between £20-25million is likely if they get a Liverpool player in return.

The Holland international moved to the north east of England last summer from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of £14.5million.

The 25-year-old was a shining light in a wretched Premier League campaign for the Tyneside club, scoring 11 goals in the competition.

Klopp has already signed goalkeeper Loris Karius, centre-back Matip, forward Sadio Mane and midfielder Marko Grujic this summer.

In other Liverpool transfer news, the club could complete a £27million deal for Georginio Wijnaldum by Thursday.