Sometimes, inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources.
This is especially true in the world of top-flight football, where there are a number of records held by unfancied and unheralded players.
From Jamie Vardy’s goalscoring run to Robert Earnshaw’s incredible achievement of scoring a hat-trick in every division of the Football League, it is clear that quality and value for money exists outside of the world’s elite footballers.
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This is reflected by the January transfer window, which usually revolves around struggling clubs who attempt to bring in talented, if relatively unknown, players on loan.
With a lack of top quality players available to buy during the winter, January provides an opportunity for clubs at the bottom end of the Premier League to reinforce their squads for little investment.
Some of these deals have made the difference between relegation and survival for struggling clubs, with Birmingham City’s signing of French World Cup winner Christophe Dugarry during the 2002 window a relevant case in point. Dugarry energised the struggling Blues, while his five league goals in 16 games helped them to avoid the drop.
So what deals could make the difference this time around? Here are three of the best potential loan moves.
Loic Remy (Chelsea to Aston Villa)
While Villa may seem doomed as they sit bottom of the table and 11 points from safety, the signing of a clinical and motivated striker on loan could help them to erode this cavernous gap.
Remy fits the bill perfectly, as he is currently out of favour at Chelsea but boasts the pace, incision and eye for goal that could provide the cutting edge that Villa so badly lack. The Frenchman would also have a point to prove, so he will be keen to score the goals that keep Villa up.
The only issue may come in the form of the Blues’ lack of strikers, while it has yet to be determined whether Hiddink rates the pacey Frenchman.
Simone Zaza (Juventus to Sunderland)
Quick, skillful and left-footed, the 24-year-old striker is currently being coveted by a host of Premier League clubs including Stoke City and Sunderland.
Zaza’s pace and explosive style of play would particularly compliment those around him at the Stadium of Light, like the experienced and more functional forwards of Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher.
Capped seven times by Italy and known for his effectiveness out on loan, Zaza could provide the goals that keep Sunderland in the top-flight.
Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid to West Ham)
While the Hammers are hardly struggling, their recent victory over Liverpool leaves them in contention for a coveted Europe League place.
Such an opportunity is unlikely to pass an ambitious Slaven Bilic by, meaning that one or two astute January signings could help to secure European football. To this end, Bilic should look towards a loan move for Real starlet Odegaard, who just last season became the youngest ever player to represent Los Blancos in La Liga.
Such a loan deal has an outside chance of materialising, but it's the type of proactive and imaginative move that will suit an increasingly progressive West Ham side.
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