You chatting to Rafa on the regular then? I hadn't realised he was "reluctant" to do loan deals. Who were the quality players who became available that he turned down?
The records don't lie. Apart from Mascherano, Rafa has never signed a high-profile player on a loan deal. Which is very weird, considering our financial situation and the success of that one example at LFC. If you want a name: Mauro Zarate.
I didn't realise there were going to be a huge number of players available for peanuts this January. That's weird, it's the first time that's ever happened. Who are they, and why aren't they costing the usual amount?
I have posted a list of 10 players earlier in this thread: Adriano, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Maxi Rodriguez, Goran Pandev, Kevin Kuranyi, Marouane Chamakh, Jadson, Jonathan de Guzman, Fernandinho, Semih Senturk. And those are only the attacking players. I have deliberately avoided to mention the Bosmans from our PL opponents (like Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco, Martin Petrov), as I don't see a chance of signing any one of them, especially not in January.
As for the reason why aren't they costing the usual amount, it is actually pretty simple. The financial crisis has forced many clubs to slash their wage bills, and therefore, the players mentioned above, even though they have quality, were not offered new deals at the level they were expecting. Subsequently, they have decided to run down their contracts and get better wages elsewhere, being signed like Bosmans in the summer. Some of their clubs (or maybe even most of them) will like to cut their losses in this financial climate, so we will probably see most of the players mentioned on that list being sold in January, for a cut price deals.
Seriously though, even if there were players available for peanuts, we'd still struggle to compete in terms of wages.
This is where I think we are getting it wrong. We all know that Rafa was shafted by the Americans for some 30 million this summer. But, that decision is coming back to haunt them now, as we are clearly in danger of missing the next year's Champion League. If something like that is to happen (God forbid), the consequences for the Americans would be immense. Not only that we will be missing the prize money from the Champions League, but we will be also missing a part of our sponsorship money, as all of our commercial deals (Standard Chartered included) have clauses dependant on our presence in the CL, according to reports from reliable sources.
Gillet and Hicks might be liars and thieves, but they are not idiots. The best way to avoid the possible loss of 30-40 million because of LFC missing the CL next season, would be to invest some fresh transfer funds right now, and to allow Rafa to add to that fresh funds anything he could recoup through sales (Dossena, Voronin, Degen and maybe even Babel) in January.