During the course of a Premier League season, managers are always forced to make tough decisions and some are proved to be wrong. Here are three loan players, owned by Premier League clubs, who are making their parent clubs look very foolish.
Also, please remember that Loic Remy is still owned by Queens Park Rangers, a Championship side, and is therefore ineligible for this list. In a different scenario, he would doubtlessly be on this list, having scored 10 goals in 17 Premier League appearances.
Although on loan with fellow Spur Tom Carroll at QPR, 'Benni', as he is called by Spurs fans, has proved over a capable left-back over long period of time. Having been a valuable member of the Spurs team since joining in June 2006, BAE lost favour with former Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas.
The biggest news made this year by Assou-Ekotto was not on the football pitch but off it, after he posted a controversial picture with fellow Spurs outcast Emmanuel Adebayor.
This season, however, Spurs were left without a proper left-back. Both Zeki Fryers and Danny Rose both had injuries, leaving Kyle Naughton - a decent-right back - floundering in a foreign position.
With a backup left-back, Tottenham might have been able to prevent, or at least ameliorate, the poor defensive showings against Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Assou-Ekotto could have filled this role adequately, and provided much needed depth.
Manchester City have also had defensive lapses, especially away from home. Although City have capable defensive midfielders in Yaya Toure, Javi Garcia, and Fernandinho, the latter two are Premier League rookies and their inexperience has shown at times this season.
Gareth Barry, the 32-year-old former England international, has shown to be a defensive powerhouse at Everton. Additionally, he has provided two goals and three assists. That's a better total than £35 million signing Fernandinho. Meanwhile, Toure does not have the defensive work rate or ability that a proper defensive midfielder should.
Barry has been great at Everton, a team with a great defensive record. Although Manchester City have not been dreadful defensively, they have had games this season where an experienced holding midfielder could have prevented a goal or two.
This is the one you saw coming. Lukaku has gone out on loan for two straight seasons, but it seems as if the only reasoning behind it is his age. The 20-year-old Belgian led West Brom in scoring last year, scoring 17 league goals for the Baggies.
Chelsea inexplicably loaned him out to Champions League rivals Everton at the start of the 2013/14 season, who are only one place behind the Blues in the table.
Returning boss Jose Mourinho preferred to sign Samuel Eto'o, a former world-class striker who spent the last few years playing for Anzhi in Russia. He has struggled to deal with the increased level of play in the Premier League, scoring just three times in 11 games.
Demba Ba has barely seen the pitch, netting only one goal, and Fernando Torres has, to no one's surprise, struggled to score. Coincidentally, Torres has the same goal and assist tally as Man City's Fernandinho.
All together, these strikers have a measly six goals. Lukaku has nine goals and three assists.
Lukaku has not only outdone Chelsea's strikers but totally outclassed all of them combined. If Mourinho had seen the young striker last year, he might have known that he was Chelsea's best striker. Instead, Mourinho missed out on one of the Premier League's best strikers, sending him out on loan.
The scariest consequence for Chelsea is not the lack of goals. Lukaku is one of the world's brightest prospects at any position and Chelsea risk upsetting him with continuing loan spells despite his stellar performances.
If Lukaku decides he wants a new home after being on loan, Chelsea would be resigned to selling him. A similar situation has occurred with young goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan at Atletico Madrid.
The Lukaku-Courtois trend cannot continue for Chelsea if they hope to have a bright future, or even current success. The trend seems to be based on age rather than ability and has cost Chelsea quite a few goals.
Everton hit the jackpot by acquiring Lukaku and Barry for a season (along with Gerard Deulofeu) and their mastery of the loan system has helped them attain a top five position.
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