Every transfer window, fans get excited at the prospect of the big-money transfers their side could complete, but, sometimes, the humble loan signing ends up having the most significant impact.
Since 1966, loans have very much been a part of football’s transfer landscape, and more and more have occurred as the years have progressed. Some were disastrous – we’re looking at you, Kim Kallstrom – but others ended up being matches made in heaven.
But who are the greatest loan signings in Premier League history? Read on to find out.
12. Loic Remy
Despite scoring six goals in 14 top-flight appearances for Queens Park Rangers during the second half of the 2012/13 campaign, Remy could not keep the London-based outfit in the top flight.
His performances earned him a loan move to the north-east with Newcastle, though, and he continued to shine, netting 14 times in 26 outings as the Toon finished 10th. While Chelsea then swooped for Remy ahead of their Premier League win in 2015, he failed to hit the same heights as at St. James’ Park, and now plies his trade in Turkey with Caykur Rizespor.
11. Robert Huth
In February of the 2014/15 campaign, Leicester were rock bottom of the Premier League table and seemingly a dead-cert to return to the Championship. Desperate times require desperate measures and, on the final day of the winter transfer window, Nigel Pearson swooped to sign Huth, who had played just three minutes of top-flight football with Stoke that campaign, on loan until May.
It proved to be an inspired signing. The German played in the ‘Foxes” last 14 fixtures as they completed their great escape, and Huth subsequently transferred permanently to the King Power Stadium. 12 months later, he was a Premier League champion for the third time in his career, and he even competed in the Champions League the following term.
10. George Weah
By the time Weah rocked up at Stamford Bridge in January 2000, his best days were clearly behind him, but he still had enough in the tank to contribute.
In 15 appearances in all competitions, Weah netted five goals. His first came on his debut against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, which endeared him to the club’s supporters, and he also struck against Gillingham and Leicester during Chelsea’s FA Cup-winning run.
One of Africa’s greatest-ever players, he is now president of Liberia.
9. Robbie Keane
When Keane arrived at Elland Road in 2001 at the age of 20, on loan from Inter Milan, he had already turned out for the Italian giants, Wolves and Coventry City.
His signing provided a massive boost to David O’Leary’s Champions League hopes. The Republic of Ireland international netted nine times in 18 Premier League matches as the ‘Whites’ clinched fourth spot in the table. After completing a permanent transfer, he would fail to hit the same heights for the Yorkshire club, scoring just ten goals across the next two seasons before completing a switch to Tottenham, where he enjoyed much more success.
8. Ivan Campo
It may seem like a century ago now, but there was a time when Bolton Wanderers could boast a squad featuring the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Hidetoshi Nakata.
Ivan Campo was another star who Sam Allardyce somehow convinced to join his Reebok revolution, initially on loan. Given his pedigree, he was a huge hit on and off the pitch at Bolton and, after his one-year loan came to an end in 2003, he put pen to paper on a three-year deal to swap Madrid for Horwich permanently. He ended up spending six years in total at the club before departing in 2008.
7. Mikel Arteta
To young supporters, Arteta is a manager trying to revolutionise Arsenal. However, prior to that, he was a cultured midfielder for the Gunners and Everton.
His first steps in English football came with the Toffees, who he joined on loan from Real Sociedad in January 2005. His ability on the ball in the middle of the park played a huge role in the Merseyside outfit qualifying for the Champions League, the only time they have done so. Everton captured him on a five-year contract that summer, and he would spend six years at Goodison Park before leaving for London in 2011.
6. Henrik Larsson
Larsson’s spell at Manchester United, who he joined for three months in 2007, was short but sweet.
Man United NICK A POINT at Stamford Bridge! Full reaction on The Football Terrace…
The Sweden international scored three times in 13 appearances before returning to Helsingborg in March, despite United’s best efforts to extend his stay. Sir Alex Ferguson showered him in praise, and the former Celtic striker even received a standing ovation in his first visit to Old Trafford following his departure, as captain of the Europe XI team in the UEFA Celebration match.
5. Jesse Lingard
Lingard’s career appeared to be dying a slow death at Manchester United last season before completing a loan move to West Ham United.
He had managed just five goals in the two previous full league campaigns, but Lingard was a revelation under David Moyes. The 28-year-old scored nine times and provided five assists in just 16 appearances, helping the Hammers qualify for the Europa League. His displays even earned him a recall to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Once again struggling for playing time at Old Trafford, don’t be surprised if West Ham launch another move for Lingard in January.
4. Daniel Sturridge
Sturridge had already played for Manchester City and Chelsea by the time he moved to Bolton on loan in January 2011, but it was with the Wanderers that he first displayed his true ability regularly.
The future England international netted eight goals in just 12 Premier League games as Bolton finished in 14th place. His performances in the north-west saw him earn a more prominent role at Chelsea before a move to Liverpool materialised. While his career has petered out due to a series of injuries, he can look back on his time at Bolton with fondness.
3. Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku may now have returned to Chelsea to answer Thomas Tuchel’s goalscoring prayers, but he was once surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. So much so, he was allowed to leave the club in 2012 to join West Bromwich Albion on loan.
It proved to be the making of Belgium’s record goalscorer. In 35 Premier League games, he found the back of the net 17 times, including a hat-trick against Manchester United in Ferguson’s last game as ‘Red Devils’ boss. Unsurprisingly, the ‘Baggies’ were desperate to hold on to the striker, but he instead made the temporary switch to Everton, which eventually became permanent.
2. Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann had already had a spell at Tottenham during the 1994-95 campaign, when he managed 20 goals, before returning to Spurs on loan in 1998.
The ‘Lilywhites’ were facing relegation when the former World Cup winner arrived at White Hart Lane. In the end, Klinsmann’s nine goals helped keep Spurs in the top flight, with four strikes coming in a crucial 6-2 victory over Wimbledon. His final game, against Southampton on the final day of the season, proved to be the last game of his club career, making it a poetic end to an illustrious career.
1. Christophe Dugarry
In 2003, the January transfer window was introduced – previously, players could switch clubs at any point in the season until March 31st.
Dugarry was one of the first players to be involved in a January transfer window move, and it actually proved to be one of the very best short-term deals the Premier League has ever seen. Birmingham City were in the relegation zone when they signed Dugarry, but the Frenchman’s experience, as well as his goalscoring prowess, helped the club move up to an ultimately comfortable 13th-place finish.
He made just 31 appearances for the ‘Blues’, playing only 16 more times the following term after a permanent switch before moving to Qatar, but that was enough to see him inducted into the club’s haul of fame. Glory to the loan transfer!!