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Lucas Moura linked with return to Sao Paulo this summer

Lucas could return to his boyhood club, but probably not until the summer.

Tottenham Hotspur Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Lucas Moura’s time at Tottenham Hotspur appears to be winding down, and his next club might be his old one. The Spurs forward has found himself well down the depth chart this season under Antonio Conte. In recent weeks Lucas has been dealing with a tendon injury, and has struggled mightily to return to fitness.

Now, Brazilian outlet Lance! is reporting that Lucas is in the process of negotiating a possible return to the club where he had his start — Sao Paulo. Lucas’ five year contract which he signed when transferring from PSG in 2018 expires in June, and the report notes a reciprocal interest in Lucas returning to Brazil to finish out his career.

Lucas had mentioned interest in returning to Sao Paulo someday in interviews over the past year or so, most recently in an extended interview on YouTube with FlowSport.

“Man, my plan, to be honest, I want to play football and I want to be in a club that allows me to play at a high level, play in a good league, play at a good level. That’s my plan. I still have a lot of firewood to burn, I’m 30 years old, so I’m very young.

“So my thought is to finish this season with Tottenham, try to win a title this season and, free of contract, sit down with my family and listen to the offers that will appear. That’s when you analyze everything: country, club, financial side. It’s analyzing everything. And then make the best decision. That’s my thought. But now I’m very calm there.

“If Tottenham want to renew, [that’s] cool too, [it’s] a club I like a lot, I’m adapted. Let’s see, let’s hear the renewal proposal. If they don’t want to, I’ll leave for free, and being free, of course, more proposals appear. So it’s a matter of analyzing and seeing what we decide.

“And there’s the possibility of returning to Brazil. It’s difficult, I’ve always said that I want to go back to the São Paulo, which is the club I love. I never stipulated any deadline, and I said that I wanted to stay at least 10 years in Europe, since when I left Sao Paulo my thought was to stay at least 10 years in Europe, whatever happens.”

The Lance! report says that negotiations would “take time” and so that makes it unlikely that he’d leave during the January transfer window, but a free transfer move seems much more of a possibility.

Antonio Conte has praised Lucas’ experience and mentality in the past, but in a press conference last week expressed frustration with his slow recovery from his injury. Conte’s implication seemed to be that Lucas might be upgraded in the upcoming transfer window.

“About Lucas Moura, we didn’t have him from the start of the season. And we are continuing to not have him. He has this problem, he is struggling a lot to find a solution.

“For sure it’s a difficult situation. Because I have a good player in my squad, but he’s never available. It’s like you don’t have him. It’s a pity because I repeat: we are talking about a good player, a good guy, but he is struggling a lot to solve this problem. I don’t know, I don’t know what in the future happens about him.”

Conte and Spurs expect to be busy in the January transfer market, though Conte has said that he doesn’t want a large squad. Lucas is an obvious upgrade opportunity, though it seems likely that he wouldn’t leave the squad until this summer.