As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Lucas Vazquez: Why he'll choose Liverpool over Real Madrid return if Espanyol dither

If Brendan Rodgers wants Lucas Vazquez at Liverpool, then he can get 'im.

Alongside the likes of Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos and the goalscoring of Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid, Vazquez has been one of the big revelations of the Spanish Liga season. Joan Collet, the Espanyol president, has spoken of converting the midfielder's loan from Real Madrid into a permanent deal. But as Rodgers and Liverpool monitor developments, Collet's hopes of keeping hold of Vazquez have just become more complicated.

A deal has been on the table since Vazquez arrived in August. Espanyol can sign the 23 year-old for €2 million, with Real holding a two-year buy-back option for €4 million.

But though it appears straightforward, nothing has been triggered. And this despite Collet, barely a month into the loan arrangement, talking up the prospect of securing Vazquez long-term. However, instead, Espanyol have gone back to Real about extending his loan into next season.

Now, the winger's dazzling form - and Liverpool's interest - has moved the goal posts.

Real could still be in the equation, with coach Carlo Ancelotti a fan of the midfielder. He took Vazquez on tour to the US in preseason and was impressed with the winger. But for the player, himself, he now has a taste of being a first team regular and is reluctant to return to become a squad player amongst Real's Galacticos.

"My goal was to play in the Primera Division, take the opportunity that has been given me by Espanyol and hopefully I can continue to demonstrate that I am able to play at this level," says Vazquez.

"I'm happy with how I'm coming around, things are good, I'm happy with how the club takes care of me. Espanyol are helping me grow as a person and as a player."

Asked about Real's buy-back option and the prospect of returning, Vasquez hints it's unlikely.

"It's the way they do their contracts. There have been some cases of a return, like (Dani) Carvajal. Jose Callejon also was sold, then returned but was sold again. It's what happens."

At Espanyol, Vazquez has been likened to Callejon, now a star with Rafa Benitez's Napoli and also a member of the Spain squad.

Asked about joining Callejon in the La Roja, Vazquez smiles: "I'm just taking my first step, hopefully I can repeat his story, but we'll see."

Blessed with great pace and ball control, it's no surprise Rodgers has been recommended Vazquez by his Liverpool scouts. His strengths, so well exploited by Espanyol coach Sergio Gonzalez, appear tailor-made for the high octane Rodgers system.

With talk of an imminent Spain call for the 23 year-old, it's been a stunning first season in the top-flight from the former Real Madrid Castilla captain.

A shining light in the Castilla team that were relegated from the Segunda Division last season, Vazquez was first sounded out by Espanyol before the end of the campaign. Indeed, it was their determination which convinced the winger to choose Espanyol ahead of other Primera offers.

"The thing that motivated me most about joining them was they were asking for me in May," he recalled. "Such a gesture was very convincing.

"I was eager to come here."

Espanyol sports director Oscar Perarnau had no doubts about what they were getting.

"We knew we needed a player like him, with great, great pace," he said. "We wanted someone who could score and create goals. He was the top scorer of his team, and also their assists."

Vazquez has delivered, exceeding expectations both at Espanyol and Real. That €2 million needed is looking a bargain for Collet, but the longer he leaves it open, the better chance rivals like Liverpool have to turn the player's head.

"I am not planning on returning to Madrid, but only doing well here," Vazquez continues. "I am very happy with the way things are happening."

But there's also a wink to watching clubs as Collet and Espanyol dither.

"I do not know if they will pay, I'm very happy for the moment, progressing a lot and that's what matters. At the end of the season, we will decide."

Have your say
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free
×

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free