Liverpool's dreams of returning to European seniority are sure to rest on how the coming five months pan out, with an alleged loan deal for Barcelona winger Cristian Tello promising to lend a hand.
The Reds have been fiercely linked with the trickster for the last few weeks, and not only would the Spaniard's arrival bring some significant talent to Brendan Rodgers' squad, but it would also send a message to their Premier League peers.
In no uncertain terms, that message would point toward a return to power.
According to Gary Jones of the Daily Star, Liverpool lead Arsenal and Tottenham in the hunt to bring Tello in on loan for the rest of the season.
Though it may be a decision partially affected by their own tactics on La Blaugrana's behalf, it would speak volumes in itself if Merseyside were chosen as Tello's temporary home for the remainder of the campaign ahead of other such giants.
As a result of their slip down the English rankings, Liverpool have been forced to divert their attentions toward smaller talents of late, not always able to compete for very highest quality resources.
However, with their meteoric rise back into Premier League contention this season, Tello's capture would serve as vindication that the club is very much back to do business with the big boys.
At 22 years of age, the Catalan youngster has long been tipped as one of the most prodigious talents to have recently graduated from La Masia's ranks.
Despite the club's usual tactics of farming their starlets out in order to hand them first-team experience, Tello has been one of those who's yet to spend time away from the Camp Nou.
This has been a double-edged sword for the winger, with coaches apparently convinced by his ability to make an impact at his parent club, but just not enough to give him a substantial string of playing time in La Liga.
Despite that, Gerardo Martino may be the man who finally makes the decision to send Tello away, although some will undoubtedly agree that a bright future in Catalan country is still on the cards.
Bleacher Report's Guillem Balague has testified to Barca's want of keeping hold of their wide asset, however, showing that he may yet be in the club's plans this term:
The speedster has received his share of bright spots thus far, however. Since making his La Liga debut in early 2012, Tello has racked up 47 appearances in the Spanish top flight—17 of which have been starts—and scored 10 goals, making eight assists, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
While a lack of prominence in the side continues to plague his development, Barca's aspiring star may yet turn into the provisional powerhouse many know he can be if he were to be handed that much-needed bout of first-hand minutes.
Liverpool can offer that at the highest level if the first half of the campaign has been anything to go off.
There are many big-money moves out there that will still evade the Reds, their bragging rights not yet back on the same level as some of their Premier League peers.
That being said, Tello presents a potent combination of both realistic and fantasy, a player who's potentially meant for massive things but could very much be within Rodgers' grasp right now.
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