The loan system isn’t perfect, and one of its biggest weaknesses is that there is little long-term value in developing a player for another club. If a player on loan can help you, he plays. If he can’t, it’s often better for a club to play their own fringe player or promising youngster ahead of him.
For top clubs, it often means having to send prospects further down the league pyramid or abroad to places where they’re good enough relative the other players to get regular minutes. Those regular minutes are valuable, but not in the same way as minutes at a Premier League club would be.
It’s been suggested the answer could be permanent sales with buy-back clauses, and according to a report today from The Northern Echo, Liverpool and Newcastle could be exploring just such an option in the case of Sheyi Ojo, who had until today seemed set for a loan to Middlesbrough.
Newcastle had previously been chasing the young winger, with manager Rafa Benitez identifying him as one of his top targets, but his desire to take the player on loan with a purchase option made the deal impossible from Liverpool’s perspective given Jürgen Klopp rates Ojo highly.
Newcastle returned with an offer of a straight loan, but Liverpool rejected it believing Ojo ran too high a risk of being stuck to the bench at the newly promoted side as they wouldn’t be invested in his long-term development, similar to what happened to players like Victor Moses and Nuri Sahin at Anfield.
A relatively modest £10M offer—plus a reasonable buy-back clause—could make a move to Newcastle make sense for everyone involved, or at least that’s the idea, investing Newcastle in the player’s development while still giving Liverpool the chance to get him back in a couple of seasons.
Whether there’s any truth to the rumour should become clear shortly given Ojo was left out of the squad that headed to Hong Kong this week and a deal—whether it’s to Middlesbrough on loan or Newcastle permanently with a buy-back clause—is likely to happen in relatively short order.