Kopblog: The Dreaded Loan

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Joseph Cousins discusses Liverpool’s recent history of loaning out players, and weighs up if it helps or hinders the club.


ST HELENS, ENGLAND - Monday, February 25, 2013: Liverpool's captain Conor Coady in action against Manchester United during the Premier League Academy match at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

My Twitter time line is full of enthusiastic Liverpool fans confirming the loaning out of our players and remarking on how player x can do well at club y to get the necessary experience to hopefully feature successfully in the Reds first team.

Sometimes when a player in the squad is having a difficult time, particularly a young player, we as fans suggest he go on loan, get some first team experience at a competitive level and hopefully come back a better player and feature in the first team. A lot of people suggested Sterling go out on loan, as insane as that sounds now, there was certainly some decently sound logic behind the idea back in December.

I have a question though. Of the players Liverpool have loaned out in the last 6 years how many have come back to have a successful career in the Liverpool first team? As I’m sometimes accused of being a bit of a negative so and so. I will present the facts and let you judge for yourselves.

Here’s a list of players we’ve loaned out since the 2007-08 season (I chose this season to start with because I couldn’t any data from seasons previous to this). Some players appear more than once as they’ve been loaned out more than once.

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Player Club loaned to Duration Season
Paul Anderson Swansea City Season 2007/08
Scott Carson  Aston Villa Season 2007/08
Miki Roque  Xerez Season 2007/08
Danny Guthrie  Bolton Wanderers Season 2007/08
Ryan Flynn  Hereford United November to December 2007/08
Adam Hammill  Southampton Season 2007/08
Lee Peltier  Yeovil Town July to December 2007/08
Craig Lindfield  Notts County November 2007/08
Craig Lindfield  Chester City January to February 2007/08
Besian Idrizaj  Crystal Palace August to November 2007/08
Besian Idrizaj Wacker Innsbruck February to June 2007/08
Robbie Threlfall  Hereford United November to May 2007/08
James Smith  Stockport County August to November 2007/08
Jack Hobbs  Scunthorpe United January to May 2007/08
Jimmy Ryan Shrewsbury Town August to November 2007/08
Josh Mimms York City October to December 2007/08
Godwin Antwi Hartlepool United Season 2007/08
Nikolay Mihaylov FC Twente Season 2007/08
Anthony Le Tallec Le Mans Union Club 72 Season 2007/08
Aridane Hernández UD Fuerteventura Season 2007/08
Nikolay Mihaylov  Twente 2 Seasons 2008/09
 Paul Anderson  Nottingham Forest Season 2008/09
 Robbie Threlfall  Hereford United July to January 2008/09
 Robbie Threlfall  Stockport County February to March 2008/09
 Miki Roqué  Cartagena Season 2008/09
 David Martin  Leicester City Season 2008/09
 Sebastián Leto Greece Olympiacos Season 2008/09
 Andriy Voronin Hertha BSC Season 2008/09
 Krisztián Németh  Blackpool January to February 2008/09
 Craig Lindfield  Bournemouth August to December 2008/09
 Craig Lindfield  Accrington Stanley January to June 2008/09
 Péter Gulácsi  Hereford United January to June 2008/09
 Martin Kelly  Huddersfield Town March to June 2008/09
 Adam Hammill  Blackpool January to June 2008/09
 Adam Hammill  Barnsley February to May 2008/09
 Jordy Brouwer  Waalwijk January to May 2008/09
 Godwin Antwi  Tranmere Rovers July to December 2008/09
 Godwin Antwi  Hereford United 16th Feb to 25th Feb 2008/09
 Astrit Ajdarevic  Leicester City March to June 2008/09
 Ryan Flynn  Wrexham January to June 2008/09
 Jay Spearing  Leicester City March to May 2009/10
 Krisztián Németh  AEK Athens Season 2009/10
 Charles Itandje  Kavala Season 2009/10
 Stephen Darby  Swindon Town March to May 2009/10
 Ryan Flynn  Falkirk July to September 2009/10
 Robbie Threlfall  Northampton Town August to September 2009/10
 Robbie Threlfall  Bradford City February to May 2009/10
 Nathan Eccleston  Huddersfield Town January to May 2009/10
 Péter Gulácsi  Tranmere Rovers April to May 2009/10
 Dean Bouzanis  Accrington Stanley November to February 2009/10
 David Martin  Tranmere Rovers October to November 2009/10
 David Martin  Leeds United November to February 2009/10
 David Martin  Derby County March to April 2009/10
 Mikel San José  Athletic Bilbao Season 2009/10
 Nikolay Mihaylov  Twente 2 Seasons 2009/10
 András Simon  Córdoba Season 2009/10
 Vincent Weijl  Helmond Sport January to June 2009/10
Paul Konchesky  Nottingham Forest January to May 2010/11
Alberto Aquilani  Juventus Season 2010/11
Emiliano Insúa  Galatasaray Season 2010/11
Philipp Degen  VFB Stuttgart Season 2010/11
Nabil El Zhar  PAOK Season 2010/11
Stephen Darby  Notts County November to May 2010/11
Nathan Eccleston  Charlton Athletic January to June 2010/11
Daniel Ayala  Hull City August to January 2010/11
Daniel Ayala  Derby County February to June 2010/11
Péter Gulácsi  Tranmere Rovers September to November 2010/11
Victor Pálsson  Dagenham & Redbridge November to January 2010/11
Thomas Ince  Notts County November to January 2010/11
Chris Mavinga  Racing Genk January to May 2010/11
Sean Highdale  Newtown January to May 2010/11
David Amoo  MK Dons January to February 2010/11
David Amoo  Hull City February to June 2010/11
Brad Jones  Derby County March to June 2010/11
Daniel Pacheco  Norwich City March to June 2010/11
Stephen Darby  Rochdale Season 2011/12
Péter Gulácsi  Hull City July to April 2011/12
Martin Hansen  Bradford City Season 2011/12
Daniel Pacheco  Atlético Madrid Season 2011/12
Alberto Aquilani  Milan Season 2011/12
Joe Cole  Lille Season 2011/12
Villyan Bijev  Fortuna Düsseldorf Season 2011/12
David Amoo  Bury September to October 2011/12
Jonjo Shelvey  Blackpool September to November 2011/12
Nathan Eccleston  Rochdale October to November 2011/12
Toni Silva  Northampton Town 18 months 2011/12
David Amoo  Bury October to January 2011/12
Danny Wilson  Blackpool December to June 2011/12
Andy Carroll West Ham United Season 2012/13
Jay Spearing Bolton Wanderers Season 2012/13
Villyan Bijev Start 2012/13
Henoc Mukendi Northampton Town 2012/13
Danny Wilson Bristol City 2012/13
Jamie Stephens Airbus UK Broughton Wales 2012/13
Adam Morgan Rotherham United 2012/13
Danny Wilson Hearts 2012/13
Michael Ngoo Hearts 2012/13
Dani Pacheco SD Huesca 2012/13
Jack Robinson Wolverhampton Wanderers 2012/13
 Michael Ngoo  Yeovil Town July to October 2013/14
 Suso  Almería Season 2013/14
Henoc Mukendi  Partick Thistle July to January 2013/14
 Conor Coady  Sheffield United July to January 2013/14
 Krisztián Adorján  Groningen Season 2013/14
 Pepe Reina  Napoli Season 2013/14
 Jack Robinson  Blackpool Season 2013/14
 Oussama Assaidi  Stoke City Season 2013/14
 Fabio Borini  Sunderland Season 2013/14
 João Carlos Teixeira  Brentford September to January 2013/14
 Andre Wisdom  Derby County October to May 2013/14
 Ryan McLaughlin  Barnsley January to May 2013/14
 Tiago Ilori  Granada January to May 2013/14
 Sebastián Coates  Nacional January to May 2013/14
 Michael Ngoo  Walsall January to May 2013/14
 Jordon Ibe  Birmingham City February to May 2013/14

So what do you reckon?

I am against the loan system in general because I think it encourages clubs to stockpile players and it facilitates third party involvement in the game.

If it were up to me I’d put a squad size limit of 25 players on all clubs. 3 goal keepers and 22 outfield players in the first team squad. Anyone over the age of 20 who is not selected in the 25 has to be released. The player becomes a free agent. Players aged 19 and below will be a part of the reserve/U20 squad which also has a squad size limit of 25 players. The same relates throughout the age groups. Under 16s, 14s and so on.

This rule would mean a club like Man City cannot hoover up all the talent and have multiple players on £100K+ a week who cost over £20m who cannot get a game. The talent would therefore be more evenly spread throughout the clubs. Improving competition and enabling more players to actually play football.

The loan system would be scrapped. No more nonsense where a player cannot play against his parent club. Or play for 3 or 4 clubs in the same season. Young players need to play regular football to develop they also need continuity. Take Borini as an example. He’s played for 5 clubs in 5 seasons, 3 of the seasons he was on loan and the club he was loaned to didn’t take him on permanently. He’s never gone back to a previous club either. Always a new one. Having starred for Italy at under 17, 19 and under 21 levels and also playing once for the senior national side he’s now 23 years old with a club career that hasn’t really gone anywhere.

Under my rules Borini would have been released by Chelsea in 2011 and Swansea would have been able to sign him on a permanent deal.

OSLO, NORWAY - Wednesday, August 7, 2013: Liverpool's Fabio Borini looks dejected after missing a chance against Valerenga during a preseason friendly match at the Ullevaal Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge could have been a permanent signing for Bolton in 2010/11 which theoretically would have given him 3 years there playing first team football. Rather than being a bit part player at Chelsea. Would his development be further advanced at an earlier age?

Ryan Bertrand, rated as the best young English left back in 2011, has played for 6 clubs on loan in his career. Chelsea has been his parent club since 2006, they loaned him out to 5 different clubs in 5 seasons, kept him in their squad for 4 seasons and then loaned him out last season. He’ll be 25 next month with a nothing career really. Although I wouldn’t mind a nothing career getting £35K a week!

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Connor Coady has been at Liverpool since 2005. By the age of 20 he’d made one league appearance for the club. He went on loan last season and played regular football for Sheffield United in League One. Now he’s in America with Liverpool training, knowing he has no chance playing for the first team next season.

Here are some snippets from a recent interview from him, conducted by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:

“I really needed that year away. It was massive in terms of my development and growing up both as a person and a player. I couldn’t be more grateful to Sheffield United. Everything about it was fantastic from the players to the manager, the back-room staff and the fans. It was all superb for me.

“There is a massive difference between Academy football and playing in the Football League. When I first went there it was a big shock. It was very quick and people were in your face. You realise fast how much it means to be winning games. And you learn how to win games. It means everything to players when you go down there.

“I feel like my game benefited a lot. For me as a person it was about trying to get on the ball in tight situations and Nigel Clough liked you playing. He was big on me trying to get forward and scoring goals. I got into the box a lot more and I enjoyed playing that role.

“It (the season) certainly had a bit of everything. A fight with relegation, a brilliant Cup run and then a sniff of the play-offs.

“Playing at Wembley was unbelievable and something I’ll never forget. That was the highlight but everything about my year there was great. Every young player would benefit from an experience like the one I had. I think it’s something every young player should do.

“This summer is about me working hard and trying to get myself as fit as possible. Another loan spell could be possible but we’ll see what happens.”

It sounds to me like he is better off playing for Sheffield United rather than training with Liverpool hoping for a loan spell at some other club. At 21 years of age he needs to be playing football at a competitive level. He is clearly nowhere near Brendan’s thinking for a first team squad role so what’s the point keeping him? Let the lad go back to Sheffield United on a permanent deal.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Liverpool's Andre Wisdom in action against Brondby IF during a preseason friendly match at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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We have just loaned Andre Wisdom to West Brom. He plays in one of our weakest positions, right back. He can also play at center half and we were not particularly strong there last season either. Lovren, a £20m center back appears to be a done deal and there are rumours we are on the brink of signing 20 year old Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid on a 2 year loan deal with an option to buy at the end of it. So what chance Wisdom – who will be 22 before his current loan deal is over – ever getting a regular outing in Liverpool the first team?

His loan to West Brom is nothing but a shop window for him to impress clubs Liverpool hope to be selling him to next summer. He would have to play like Lillian Thuram to get back in the Liverpool first team. It’s not going to happen. Under my rules he’d be signing for West Brom on a free where he can establish his career properly.

I haven’t studied the loan moves of other clubs but I’d bet not many have a much better record than Liverpool. The loan system in my opinion is a nonsense. It works as an advertising tool for clubs to eventually sell their cast offs but I don’t think that is what its purpose should be. Time for it to be binned.



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