Tag Archives: Juan Mata

Premier League Transfers: 9 Players Liverpool Should Consider Signing on Loan

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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.

 

Cristian Tello

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.

 

Alvaro Morata

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.

 

Ibrahim Afellay

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.

 

Fabio Coentrao

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.

 

Lucas Moura

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.

 

Javier Pastore

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.

 

Xherdan Shaqiri

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.

 

Juan Mata

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.

The Midfield Issue: A January Transfer Wishlist for Liverpool

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

 

On paper, it was a 0-2 loss to Premier League leaders Arsenal—only the second time Liverpool had dropped all three points in the league this season. After all, the Reds find themselves in an encouraging third place in the table after 10 games.

But in reality—and this will come as a huge dose of that after the previous weekend’s 4-1 hammering of West Bromwich Albion—this was another display, after the loss to Southampton a couple of months ago, that highlighted the deficiencies in the current Liverpool setup.

Besides the sheer class and quality in the Arsenal midfield ranks (with Mesut Ozil providing a premium addition to the likes of Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and the ever-improving Aaron Ramsey), we saw at the Emirates Stadium the clear lack of steel, poise and presence in the Liverpool midfield.

So, in coming up with a January transfer wish list for Liverpool, we consider the midfield issue and have drawn up a list of eight midfielders that Brendan Rodgers et al should be looking at. Let us know your comments and suggestions in the comments below.

The Essential: Maxime Gonalons

Back in July, Maxime Gonalons decided to stay at Olympique Lyonnais after being linked with a £10 million move to Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail.

If Arsene Wenger’s storied record of successful signings from France weren’t a good enough reason in itself already, there’s also the fact that as Lyon captain, Gonalons has established himself as one of the best and brightest young players in French football.

A product of Lyon’s academy, Gonalons rose to the first team in impressive fashion. He possesses tactical and positional intelligence, as well as tidy passing, tackling and box-to-box stamina. In short: a much-needed presence in the Liverpool midfield.

It’s no surprise that, according to Goal.com, Napoli are interested in the anchorman. At £10 million, Gonalons seems too good a deal to pass up on (just like Tottenham Hotspur’s £9.8 million capture of Etienne Capoue this summer).

All of this makes Maxime Gonalons the essential target for Brendan Rodgers.

The Premium: Nemanja Matic

The defensive midfield name doing the rounds in recent headlines is Benfica’s midfield general Nemanja Matic, most recently linked with Liverpool by Ben Jefferson of the Express.

The former Chelsea starlet, signed aged 21, sent on loan to Vitesse Arnhem and then to Benfica as part of a £21 million swap deal for center back David Luiz, has developed impressively at his current club, winning the Portuguese Primeira Liga Player of the Year award for the 2012/13 season.

The physically formidable midfield destroyer is quick and accurate in the tackle and would add steel to the Reds’ spine.

The stumbling blocks? He’s also being linked with a return to Stamford Bridge by ESPN FC, and at a rumored £38 million (according to the Daily Star), he would cost an arm and a leg.

The Alternative: Blaise Matuidi

£38 million Matic too expensive? Not to worry, for Brendan Rodgers has two great alternative options staring right at him.

The first is Paris St. Germain’s Blaise Matuidi, who has dominated opposing midfields in a PSG shirt for two brilliant seasons. A deep-lying midfielder, Matuidi is an all-round defensive midfielder with strong tackling ability and a creative knack going forward.

His performances in France have attracted interest from abroad, and this has only been exacerbated by his contract situation at the French capital club: His contract runs out in the summer of 2014, and according to the Independent, Premier League powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester City are already preparing pre-contract offers for Matuidi in January.

But with a little ambition and nothing to lose, Rodgers could, and should, enter the fray and change the landscape by opening the bidding with a transfer fee in January. It wouldn’t be the worst decision he’s ever made.

The Steal: Fernando Reges

The second alternative option also has a contract that runs out next summer and is also a powerful defensive midfielder.

The man in question is FC Porto’s Fernando Reges, who incidentally was linked with a move to Liverpool back in 2011 for a fee of £17 million, according to the Daily Mail.

He’s slightly slipped off the radar since but was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool’s cross-town rivals, Everton, toward the very end of the summer transfer window this year, according to the Mirror.

The deal eventually fell through, leaving his club with a tricky contract situation on its hands—and potentially opening the door for Rodgers to swoop in for a cut-price fee in January for what would certainly be a top-class addition to his first-team squad.

The Rough Diamond: Yann M’Vila

By the time January rolls around, it will be a year since Yann M’Vila, previously one of French football’s very finest prospects, surprised all onlookers with a move to Russian club Rubin Kazan.

Blessed with passing ability and superb vision, M’Vila also has stamina, work rate and a mean tackle to boot, making him an ideal defensive midfielder in the Premier League. Indeed, if this BBC Sport report is accurate, M’Vila was close to signing for Everton last January and was also targeted by Queens Park Rangers, then still fighting for survival in the Premier League.

According to a report on the FIFA website, then-club manager Frederic Antonetti had this to say about him back in 2011: “He reads the game like Claude Makelele, has the presence of Patrick Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Toure.”

Unfortunately, he’s courted controversy with his antics off the field—his period in the national team ended after an unauthorized night out while with the U21 squad—and has been criticized for his outspokenness and attitude.

But with news that Everton are again in the frame, according to Ben Jefferson’s article in the Express, Liverpool would do well to fend off interest from their Merseyside rivals and bring M’Vila in. Given Rodgers’ man-management ability, this would be a good chance for a young prospect to fulfill his undoubted potential.

The Prospect: Will Hughes

Moving away from the defensive midfield (finally) and onto more attacking players, we come across that name on everyone’s lips when it comes to Liverpool and January signings: Derby County’s Will Hughes.

A central midfielder who is technically proficient, adept at dribbling and has an eye for a pass, Hughes has, according to this Telegraph report by John Percy, attracted the attentions of many a top Premier League club, including Liverpool.

Such is the air of resignation that Hughes will eventually leave Derby that manager Steve McClaren conceded that he will eventually “be too good,” but the Rams are still looking to keep him at Pride Park for the rest of the season.

Rodgers may well put that to the test with a bid in January for England’s next midfield hope, but would in all probability need to beat tough competition to succeed.

The Luxury: Javier Pastore

As Brendan Rodgers tries to solve his midfield conundrum and fit Philippe Coutinho into an advanced midfield duo—a system that worked well against West Brom—instead of a solitary No. 10—Coutinho’s customary position—a rumor has arisen that would represent a luxurious addition to the Reds first team.

Javier Pastore was the marquee signing to show that the new owners at PSG meant business: His £30 million capture from Italian club Palermo sent shockwaves around Europe and suggested that PSG might be a new player in the super-club class.

After scoring 17 goals in 66 Ligue 1 matches, Pastore finds himself out of the weekly starting XI as PSG’s revolution continues, and he has duly been linked with a £17 million move to Anfield, according to the Metro‘s Jamie Sanderson.

An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal and exciting creativity, Pastore would be the big-name signing craved at Anfield—but not the final piece in the Liverpool puzzle.

The Dream: Juan Mata

Nothing can excite the Liverpool crowd enough at the moment, however, than the mouthwatering prospect of Juan Mata at Anfield, far-fetched though it may be.

Sitting out of Jose Mourinho’s first team in Chelsea’s first few games this season was enough to see Mata heavily linked with a shock loan move to Liverpool this summer, as reported by the Express, but it was enough to send minds and imaginations soaring.

As long as headlines like this from the Daily Star continue to do the rounds, Liverpool fans won’t stop dreaming of a Mata arrival at Anfield.

And who could blame them? Mata wouldn’t solve the central midfield problems at Liverpool, but he could be the Reds’ own Mesut Ozil-esque ground-shaker.

This article first appeared on Bleacher Report, where I contribute regularly on Liverpool and the Premier League.