Rumours linking Sebastian Coates, the 22-year-old centre back who has made nine appearances for Uruguay and won young player of the tournament at the 2011 Copa America, away from Liverpool really took off following Sunday's loss to Oldham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Only instead of being rumours he was headed to another side in England on loan for the remainder of the season as had previously been the case, the rumours had become that he would be heading back to South America on a permanent deal. Specifically, that he was on the verge of heading to Brazilian Serie A side Gremio. Those rumours, though, have quickly been put to bed.
"You can forget that, just forget it," was Gremio director Rui Costa's blunt reaction when asked by Spanish outlet UOL Sports of the possibility his club were chasing Coates. It may not end speculation linking Coates to move away from Liverpool, but with Gremio off the table it would seem to decrease the chances of a permanent deal being done in the next few days.
As for Coates and his bad day against Oldham, singling out the young defender's poor showing seems harsh. With Skrtel failing to step up and lead a young backline, Robinson having an awful outing at left back, Joe Allen continuing to look out of sorts ahead of them, and Brad Jones having a night to forget in goal, Coates was far from alone in failing to fulfil his defensive duties.
Still, with many waiting impatiently for Coates to get another chance in the first team, having that latest chance be by far his worst outing in a Liverpool shirt clearly hasn't helped his standing. And even for his staunchest supporters it will have served as further notice that the young centre back desperately needs games to have a chance at developing into the player he showed flashes of being at the Copa America.
The idea of a permanent move to Gremio may be off the table—and thankfully so for those who still hope for a bright future in England for Caotes—but with rumours still suggesting Wigan, West Brom, and Bolton are all interested in taking him on loan for the remainder of the season, Liverpool must get a deal done that gets him some game time before the window closes on Thursday.
Failing to do so, after such a poor outing against Oldham only further impressed his need for playing time and with further chances at Liverpool this season seeming unlikely, would be about the worst thing the club could do for his chances of ever fulfilling his promise.