Not many Liverpool fans will have seen Anderson Arroyo play as the highly regarded 18-year-old Colombian youth international joined up in January but immediately went to Real Mallorca on loan in an effort to get him first team experience and earn a work permit.
To that end, Liverpool agreed an 18-month loan with Real Mallorca. However, after only appearing for their B team in the second half of the 2017-18 season, Liverpool have decided to terminate Arroyo’s loan and instead will send the defender to Gent for 2018-19.
Gent, in Belgium’s first division and unlike Spanish Segunda side Mallorca, have committed to giving Arroyo first team minutes. They also have an existing relationship with Liverpool, having brought in attacker Taiwo Awoniyi on loan from Liverpool earlier in the summer.
For Arroyo, though, it’s all part of a long-term plan to earn an English work permit, something that is unlikely to happen even after a good season at Gent—it will take another year on loan in a more prominent league or senior international appearances to do that.
Unlike Liverpool’s young Brazilian Allan, who has found himself in a series of uninspiring loans as he looks to earn a work permit, the latter does at least seem possible for Arroyo, who left Colombia as one of the country’s most highly regarded young players.
Still, the expectation will likely be for Arroyo to use the coming season with Gent to prove himself in a European league before another loan in 2019-2020 and then, if things go to plan, a work permit and a possible place at Liverpool at that point.