Just as the January transfer window was nearing its close, rumours emerged linking young attacking midfielder Suso with a short-term loan to Wigan. It seemed like a sensible option for all involved as Suso's playing time looked set to decrease with the arrival of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho while Wigan were short in midfield as they fought to stave off relegation fears for another year.
Any possible deal, though, soon amounted to nothing when the player himself turned down the loan opportunity, preferring instead to remain at Liverpool and fight for playing time. It was at best a hopeful decision by young Suso, and unfortunately for the player things have gone just about how everyone on the outside looking in would have expected them to.
Since turning down the loan move, he hasn't seen a minute of action with the first team and has only managed to make the bench once—ironically against Wigan, the side he turned down a temporary move to and where he likely would have seen playing time every week. It's a situation manager Brendan Rodgers is cognizant of, and it's led to renewed thoughts of finding a temporary home for the youngster.
“I have had a real good year with the young players to assess where they are at with their development,” said Rodgers. “Suso has clearly shown he has been a very good cover player for us this season, [but] the longer plan for him we have to have a look. Does he actually have to go and play somewhere for a year and get experience?
"Does he need to show he can go and get goals and create goals and then we know what we have? Raheem has shown he can play at this level, but I gave him a week off to get away from football mentally and physically. If the young players are good enough they will be involved in the squad, but I have to look at the individual plan to see if they can be here."
Sterling's chances at first team football have dropped off following Liverpool's January signings, too, but he's still made a handful of appearances—and at the very least he has been included in the matchday squad regularly. Moreover, after he appeared to tire towards the end of 2012 following a very busy autumn for the 18-year-old, a little less action hardly seems a bad thing.
Occasional minutes and regular involvement are exactly what Sterling needs right now after seeing too much action in the opening months of the season appeared to stunt his growth rather than aiding it. Suso's, though, is a completely different situation, and while Rodgers may primarily be looking to next season when he ponders loan possibilities, there's a case to be made for sending Suso out on a short-term loan to a lower league side right now.
The January window may have meant an end to permanent transfers and Premier League loans until the end of the season, but sides from the Championship on down are still free to bring players in on loan until the 24th of March. It means Rodgers and Liverpool still have a week and a half to find a new, short-term home for the Spaniard in order to get him a few more minutes of live match action this term.
It seems a move that would have clear benefits for both club and player if a suitable destination can be found. And hopefully, after letting the chance to move to Wigan for the remainder of the season slip away, the opportunity that still exists to send Suso to a lower league side will be embraced.
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