Date: 30th November 2012 at 5:30pm
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THE Northern Echo, a newspaper closely linked to Middlesbrough, recently reported that the Championship side were interested in taking Stewart Downing on loan from Liverpool.

The player himself has privately taking a liking to this idea in a bid to get his career back on track, however, what benefit would a loan deal have for Liverpool?

Too often in the past Liverpool have agreed deals with other club which, on the surface, look to have had no great worth to the Reds and this potential loan transfer for Downing seems to fit into that category almost perfectly. Liverpool paid a princely £20million for the left-winger and should realistically be looking to recoup as much as that as possible and as soon as possible as it clearly hasn’t worked out for Downing at Anfield as he continues to frustrate whether it be on the left side of midfield or in his new role – left back.

With a loan deal worth no transfer fee whatsoever to our club and also with the England international currently on the receiving end of a lucrative contract, it is almost a given that a Championship side would only be able to afford a fraction of that wage. Even if Downing does go away and impress for his hometown side during the remainder of the season, when he returns he will be 29 and, therefore, his value will naturally depreciate.

Liverpool FC and Brendan Rodgers need to learn from the clubs previous mistakes and especially those that are pretty fresh in the memory. Two recent examples would be that of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani. Cole left for France last season and spent the campaign at Lille but, despite an above average season, came back with almost no value whatsoever and a mammoth wage demand – one which no club were willing to take on and his lackadaisical performances still haunt our weekends to this day.

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A similar situation came about when former manager Roy Hodgson decided to loan out another of our £20million recruits Alberto Aquilani to Juventus and, following an up and down season, the Italian returned to Anfield with the club still actively searching for somebody to take the midfielder off their hands permanently. However, no club were willing to take a gamble on him and he went out on yet another season-long loan; this time to AC Milan. Eventually when he returned to Anfield again, the club managed to sell him to Fiorentina for a small percentage of what they had originally paid for his services.

If Liverpool send Downing out on loan they are almost certainly asking for the same treatment they received for Aquilani and should expect to take a massive hit on the outrageous price the club paid for Downing a few summers ago. Rodgers is desperate for cash to sign a striker so selling the likes of Downing and Cole would be an ideal source of finances for him to be able to bring in the striker we sorely need.

January will be a fascinating month for Liverpool Football Club and it is who comes through the doors of Melwood that will inevitably interest fans the most. Nevertheless, it is who leaves for good that is equally as important as FSG further tighten the purse strings as we enter a period of ‘balancing the books’ under our American owners.

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