Exactly one week after the mayhem of transfer deadline day, yet another window of opportunity has opened for clubs who are still looking to bolster their squads. Just when you thought all the wheeling-and-dealing had ended.
Window of opportunity
From September 8 to November 25, the annual emergency loan window is enforced, where clubs from the Championship to the Football Conference are permitted to loan players. Whereas the second loan window runs from February 8 to March 24.
Football League clubs can agree as many loan deals as they like during this period, as many of these clubs rely on the loan window to cover for injury and suspension. These loans range from 28 days to 93 days, with parent clubs able to activate a ‘break clause’ where they can recall their loanee(s) any time after one month.
Since it has become impossible for these clubs to compete financially with Premier League clubs, the loan window has become more important than ever. Therefore, Premier League clubs are not allowed to take advantage of these loan windows.
With many English academies still brimming with young talent eager to earn competitive game time, we look at five academy youngsters who could benefit from the first annual emergency loan window.
5) Jack Grealish, 19 (Aston Villa)
On loan at Notts County in League 2 last season, the fleet-footed Irishman plays as a winger or attacking midfielder. He impressed with five goals for the Nottingham-based club.
Viewed as one of the most promising youngsters in Villa’s academy, it could be best for both parties if the gifted young player was sent out on loan to a Championship or League 1 club.
4) Reece Burke, 18 (West Ham)
Having turned 18 just over a week ago, the 6ft 2 ½ centre back looks destined to become a future star.
The young Englishman was given chances to impress by Sam Allardyce during pre-season, and he did impress with a handful of composed performances – and even scored a 90th minute winner in a 3-2 victory against Sampdoria.
Mature beyond his years, whilst being composed and classy on the ball, Burke would be a fine loan acquisition for any Football League club.
3) James Wilson, 18 (Manchester United)
The England U19 international was given his senior debut by temporary manager Ryan Giggs when he started in the 3-1 win against Hull, where he marked the milestone by scoring two goals.
The striker also showcased his potential in the U21s Senior Cup final against their arch-rivals Manchester City by scoring all four goals in a 4-1 demolition.
Already possessing deadly finishing and a good awareness of the game, the academy graduate seems destined to play in the Championship or above within the near future.
2) Lewis Baker, 19 (Chelsea)
After setting up all three goals in a 3-2 pre-season win against Wycombe, fellow academy graduate John Terry praised the skilful midfielder and spoke highly of his chances of playing for the senior team regularly in the future.
He is clearly gifted with a wonderful knack of scoring goals, since he managed to fire in a whopping 17 goals for the U21 side last season. Renowned as a set-piece specialist and a match-winner, the 5ft 9 player has technical quality in abundance.
Furthermore, it is evident that it is time for the Luton-born youngster to take the step up to regular senior football. He recently made his debut for the England U20s – being made captain and scoring a penalty in a 6-0 drubbing of Romania U20s.
This is yet another indication of his huge potential, and a temporary move to League 1 or the Championship could see him move one step closer to realising his true talent.
1) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 18 (Chelsea)
Heralded as one of England’s brightest prospects, the box-to-box midfielder not only stands at an intimidating 6ft 4, but is also blessed with remarkable elegance and composure when in possession – especially of someone with such a big frame.
Despite being just 18, he already carries a wealth of experience – being the most senior member of their academy as the U19 captain and an FA Youth Cup winner.
He has the rare ability to pick out a pass as well with his ability on the ball, as well as using his physicality to shrug off opponents and throw in weighty tackles.
Seemingly primed to eventually compete for a spot in Mourinho’s first team, any Championship club would do extremely well to sign the prodigious young midfielder.