MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Loan system is easy to fix
8:37am Tuesday 22nd April 2014 in Sport
NOW for some moans about loans.
Be it young players in desperate need of games like Deji Oshilaja or Kevin Feely, or a more senior player wasting away in the reserves like Ian McLoughlin, there is much to be said about fringe players being sent down the divisions to get precious playing minutes.
That is what the loan market is for. Or at least it used to be.
Because what is the loan market now? It's nothing more than a way of ensuring that the richest clubs in the world can stockpile players.
Not ensuring you've got your own, competitive 25 man squad, but ensuring you've got a competitive 40 man squad with over a dozen of your players loaned here, there and everywhere.
Not only is that encouraged, but it's incentivized, because these genius clubs like Chelsea can be safe in the knowledge that these loan players WILL play against their rivals, but WON'T play against them.
But it's got to the point where everything is being affected by this system.
The Premier League title race, for starters. Chelsea hilariously didn't think Liverpool would figure in it and now a Chelsea player, Victor Moses, will win the league. But he won't play against Chelsea.
Chelsea will no doubt be rueful of the fact that a Liverpool player, Fabio Borini, scored for Sunderland against them at the weekend and played brilliantly against Man City before that, but of course couldn't do so against Liverpool.
And now Chelsea will again be negotiating one of these situations in the Champions League, when one of the best goalkeepers in the world - Thibaut Courtois - who plays for Atlético Madrid as a loanee from Stamford Bridge, will play in the biggest games of his career, but only after weeks of negotiations and ultimately, intervention from UEFA.
It's become murky in the extreme and there is a simple, simple solution that won’t be as drastic as prohibiting loans between teams in the same division.
If you loan out a player, to a side in the same division or the same competition (e.g. FA Cup or Champions League) he should be eligible for EVERY game, including the one(s) against the parent club. That should be a universal rule. That would at least make everything equal even if some clubs are able to stock-pile young talent.
Something must be done, because currently, the loan market is making a total mockery of the notion of true financial fair play.
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