With the New Year also comes the January transfer window, and Liverpool have already been linked with a host of names as Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen his squad for their top-four challenge in the Premier League.
Besides permanent signings, with examples in Nuri Sahin last season and Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho this summer, Rodgers has shown a fondness and an interest in the loan market, though none of the trio can be considered a true success at Anfield.
As Liverpool contemplate potential signings this January, they would do well to keep in mind the successes of loan deals across the Premier League: The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry at Everton are shining examples of cost-efficient transfers allied with high return.
While the Reds’ own Raheem Sterling is once again rumored to be moving to Swansea City on a loan deal (c/o Mirror), here are nine players that Rodgers and the Liverpool management team should consider bringing in on loan. Feel free to chip in with your suggestions in the comments below.
Our first name on this list is also one that has seemingly been perpetually linked with a move to Anfield: Barcelona’s exciting young winger, Cristian Tello.
According to the Daily Star, Liverpool might finally be on the verge of securing Tello’s signature on a loan deal for the rest of the 2013/14 season.
An exciting winger with pace and an eye for goal, Tello broke into the Barcelona first team two seasons ago, but stormed into recognition with seven goals and four assists in just 22 La Liga matches last term, 10 of which were substitute appearances.
Another young Spanish starlet has reportedly been made available for loan as well, but the team Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata is linked with this January are Premier League rivals Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail.
With four goals in 24 first-team appearances for Real Madrid and an impressive 12 goals in just 11 games for the Spanish under-21 national side, Morata is known for his clinical finishing, but also boasts an imposing 6 ft. 3 in. frame.
With Daniel Sturridge on his way back from injury, Rodgers may consider swooping in for a deal for Morata—though he may need to move quickly if he is to secure his signature ahead of Arsene Wenger.
Kevin De Bruyne
The latest news surrounding Chelsea’s Kevin de Bruyne, according to the Telegraph, is that the Blues are holding out for a hefty £25 million fee in the wake of Wolfsburg’s interest in the Belgian midfielder.
Yet it was just in November that de Bruyne himself hinted that he would be open to a loan move away from Stamford Bridge for more first-team action ahead of the World Cup this summer (c/o Sky Sports). And Werder Bremen, where he spent last season on loan, were linked with another loan move back in October, as reported by ESPNFC.
If de Bruyne is indeed available for loan, Liverpool shouldn’t hesitate to bring in the dynamic, versatile midfielder to Anfield. Brendan Rodgers’ good relationship with Blues boss Jose Mourinho may come in handy, though the Reds’ status as potential title challengers to Chelsea may prevent any deal from being struck too easily.
For our fourth name on the list, we return to Camp Nou, where Ibrahim Afellay is biding his time on the sidelines and may be up for grabs this January.
Having received an operation on his thigh injury in August, Afellay was predicted by Barcelona’s official website to be out of action for approximately four months, which makes a January move possible.
Liverpool have been linked with Afellay in the past, according to the Express, and with just a year and a half left on his current contract (c/o Transfermarkt.com), he may be allowed to go out on loan in a bid to regain fitness.
At his best, Afellay is an all-rounded winger capable of chipping in with goals from midfield, though his career has been marred by a history of injuries. He spent the 2012/13 campaign on loan with Schalke 04.
Previously a £25 million purchase for Real Madrid, Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao has lost his place in the Los Blancos first team under Carlo Ancelotti, with Marcelo having firmly established himself as first choice.
Reported by BBC Sport to have had a deadline day loan switch to Manchester United fall through, Coentrao has most recently been linked with a temporary move to Chelsea in January, according to the Daily Mail.
All this would suggest Coentrao may be available on loan this winter, which, given the injuries to Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan and the uncertain form of Aly Cissokho, might be of interest to Liverpool, who are in need of quality reinforcements in the full-back positions.
Given the heavy expectations before his high-profile move to Paris Saint-Germain, it’s safe to say that Lucas Moura hasn’t had a year to remember in the French capital.
With his place in the starting XI not nailed down, Moura has been linked with a return to former club Sao Paulo on loan, according to Sky Sports.
Previously known as one of the most exciting prospects in world football, Moura could well be interested in resurrecting his career, and with a point to prove, in a young, attacking Liverpool side. Rodgers should be keeping a close eye on developments at the Parc des Princes.
Another former promising youngster at Paris Saint-Germain also catches our attention, as just like Lucas Moura, Javier Pastore hasn’t exactly set the world alight in Ligue 1.
With just seven league starts and five substitute appearances this season, Pastore has been linked by the Daily Star with a loan move to the Premier League, with Liverpool rumored to hold a strong interest in the Argentine forward.
Pastore’s silky dribbling, eye for goal and creativity would augment an already scintillating Liverpool forward line starring the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho—if Rodgers manages to bring him to Anfield.
An unfortunate casualty of Pep Guardiola’s impressive tinkering of the all-conquering Bayern Munich squad is Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who just last season moved to the Allianz Arena for a bargain £9 million from FC Basel.
Liverpool were linked with him back in the summer transfer window, with the Daily Star reporting that the Reds were preparing a bid to bring Shaqiri to Anfield, but a move didn’t materialize.
ITV have recently reignited rumors of a Shaqiri bid, albeit on a temporary basis. His versatility and all-rounded attacking attributes would be useful additions to a thin Liverpool squad.
As we also pondered in a January transfer wishlist for Liverpool earlier this season, Juan Mata would be a “dream” transfer for everyone at Anfield.
Current Premier League rules restrict top-flight clubs to just two loan signings from their counterparts, and while we suggested Chelsea’s Kevin de Bruyne as a potential target for Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager shouldn’t even need to think twice if Mata is on the market.
According to the Daily Star, Mata’s status at Chelsea may lead to him being made available on the loan market this January. Stranger things have happened…
This article first appeared on Bleacher Report, where I contribute regularly on Liverpool and the Premier League.