The loan system

Good look at how it works, usage and abusage, here.

My thought (and comment) is that if Premier League clubs were to be restricted to a fixed number of professional players, as per baseball (where it’s known as a 40 man roster), part of the problem would disappear.

Player A is a Liverpool reserve they bought from Crystal Palace when he was 17 because they thought he might one day be good.  Now he’s 19 and hasn’t played much.  So they loan him to Burnley where he gets good game time.  Then he comes back.  Next year he goes to Watford.  etc.

If Liverpool had to limit themselves to 40 professionals then Player A would try to find a club lower down the pyramid.  He might catch on at Norwich, say, or may even go back to Crystal Palace.  And whoever he replaces is forced to make a similar downwards adjustment.

Genuine trickle-down.

Otherwise we’re faced with players being hoarded, signed at the first glimmer or promise then ferreted around or left to rot, depending on their situation.

I don’t know if 40 is too many – it feels like it is – but something like this would surely help end the current farce.

7 thoughts on “The loan system

  1. Adebayor’s loan to Spurs is a perfect example of how ridiculous the loan system has become. Ostentiably, Spurs are a rival of Man City (maybe not financially, but at the moment a top-5 side). The idea that they can utilise a striker of Adebayor’s quality, for a tiny financial outlay, against every club in the league except Man City is laughable. It’s financial doping, where a club of Man City’s means can hoard players safe in the knowledge that it will never harm them to loan them out, but can significantly weaken their rivals.

  2. Well there is the 25 man roster right? But we all know there are so many loopholes in that. And isn’t the EPL the only league where a loanee cannot play against his parent club?

    The issue with the loan deals is that there is no standardization. Remember we couldn’t get Bentley and SWP from City because they wanted us to pay too much of their salary? Yet City were willing to pay most of Bellamy’s salary when he was at Cardiff? Huh?

    That is much too ad hoc for a system that many clubs in the lower leagues seem to survive on.

  3. I’m not sure the idea of “40 professionals” would achieve the result you’re getting at. Bear in mind that major league baseball teams also own the rights to a number of players in the lower minors who are still professionals, but aren’t part of the 40-man roster. Prospects only have to go onto the 40-man roster at a certain point in their development. The parallel doesn’t really work though, because MLB teams come by most of their prospects through the amateur draft (leaving aside international free agents and the like), where all teams have access to (more or less) the same group of players. Even if the New York Yankees could then just give the Kansas City Royals a huge pile of cash and “buy” all their 20-year-old and 21-year-old prospects, those players would not count against the Yankees’ 40-man roster at that point, I don’t think. (But I may be wrong; baseball’s roster rules are confusing.)

    1. I appreciate that, just trying to think of a way to stop big clubs hoarding young players. A promising youngster shouldn’t automatically leave Crystal Palace at 17: he’s better off playing 4 years of first team football there then moving than moving and spending four years of uncertainty, surely?

  4. I think the idea of limited transfer windows has backfired. Teams need large squads as insurance against a run of injuries. If we went back to the old system (transfers allowed any time except the last few weeks of the season) there would be smaller squads and far fewer loan deals.

  5. I’ll never forget the season that United had TWO goalkeepers out on loan in the Prem. It certainly was nice of them to face back-up keepers four times more than their title competitors did.

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