14 of the best ever Premier League loanees: Keane, Campo, Klinsmann, Campbell...

Greg Lea picks out some of the most successful temporary deals from down the years

1. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea to Bolton

Eight goals were plundered in 12 league encounters – including a last-minute winner on his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Remember when Sturridge used to play week in, week out? The injury-prone centre-forward may be struggling to reignite his Liverpool career at present, but he was a mainstay in Owen Coyle’s Bolton starting XI at the Reebok Arena in 2011. Eight goals were plundered in 12 league encounters – including a last-minute winner on his debut against Wolves – with Sturridge becoming only the sixth player to score in each of his first four games for a Premier League club. His fine form persuaded Chelsea to give him a chance back at Stamford Bridge in 2011/12, but the Blues eventually gave up and sold him to Liverpool in January 2013.

2. Christophe Dugarry, Bordeaux to Birmingham

“We are delighted that he has chosen us,” said Birmingham boss Steve Bruce after the World Cup-winning Dugarry signed in January 2003. “To have someone of his credentials is a massive, massive thing for us. It is the biggest signing this club has ever made.” The Frenchman didn't disappoint, with five goals and many more wonderful performances playing a big part in Birmingham avoiding the drop, having won five of their last eight matches to survive comfortably.

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3. Henrik Larsson, Helsingborgs to Man United

Although Larsson only scored one Premier League goal in his three months at Old Trafford, he was an excellent temporary addition for Manchester United. “He's been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he's done has been excellent,” said Sir Alex Ferguson, whose attempts to persuade Larsson to extend his stay until the end of the season proved unsuccessful.

All Goals Henrik Larsson For Manchester United (2007)

4. Robbie Keane, Inter to Leeds

Keane’s £13m move from Coventry to Inter in July 2000 didn't work out at all well, with the Irishman making just six Serie A appearances before being loaned to Leeds just before Christmas. Keane struck nine times in 14 games as David O’Leary’s men challenged for a Champions League spot, and then signed a five-year deal at Elland Road in May.

Robbie Keane, Leeds

Leeds were forced to sell Keane for £7m to Spurs in 2002

5. Amr Zaki, Zamalek to Wigan

Zaki led the Premier League goalscoring charts after converting seven in his first eight games, a run that featured a brace against Liverpool at Anfield

According to FIFA’s player rankings, Zaki was the best striker in the world when Wigan loaned him from Zamalek in July 2008. A blistering start at the JJB Stadium did little to harm his reputation: Zaki led the Premier League goalscoring charts after converting seven in his first eight games, a run that featured a brace against Liverpool at Anfield and the corking overhead kick below. The move turned sour a few months later, though, with Steve Bruce labelling him the most unprofessional player he had ever worked with after the striker returned late from international duty with Egypt for the fourth time in April.

6. Loic Remy, QPR to Newcastle

As Remy tries to secure a move away from Chelsea this month, he’ll be hoping that any potential loan deal works out as well as his previous one. The Frenchman, who joined Newcastle following QPR’s relegation in 2013, scored 14 Premier League goals for the Magpies to earn himself a permanent switch to Stamford Bridge the following summer.

Loic Remy - Newcastle ( 2014 )

7. Mikel Arteta, Real Sociedad to Everton

With Everton flying high in fourth when the January window opened in 2005, David Moyes knew that a few astute signings could help his side get over the line in their quest to qualify for the Champions League. James Beattie arrived from Southampton for £6m, but the loan addition of Arteta turned out to be the better deal for the Toffees, with the Spaniard playing a key role in the Merseysiders’ final top-four placing. Arteta signed permanently that summer and was a huge success, before Arsene Wenger brought him to Arsenal in 2011.

8. George Weah, Milan to Chelsea

Weah may have been 33 when he was loaned from Milan to Chelsea in the second half of the 1999/00 season, but the legendary Liberian was still good enough to make an impact on English shores. A late winner against Tottenham on his debut ensured Weah got off to a perfect start in west London, while his goals in ties against Leicester and Gillingham helped Chelsea to the FA Cup final, which they won by defeating Aston Villa 1-0.

Chelsea FC - Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 12-01-2000 Premier League

9. Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea to West Brom

With 15 goals in 20 appearances, Lukaku has established himself as one of the best strikers in the Premier League with Everton this season. Back in 2012/13 it was West Brom who benefited from the burly Belgian’s sharpshooting: Lukaku netted 17 times in 35 games as Steve Clarke’s side secured a top-eight finish.

10. Ryan Bertrand, Chelsea to Southampton

The sales of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw in the summer of 2014 led some (Phil Neville) to predict Southampton would be relegated in the upcoming season. Instead, Saints finished seventh after signing some astute replacements for their outgoing stars, with Chelsea loanee Bertrand filling Shaw’s shoes at left-back brilliantly.

Bertrand helped Southampton fans forget about Shaw relatively quickly

11. Ivan Campo, Real Madrid to Bolton

Sam Allardyce’s early-2000s Bolton were one of the most intriguing outfits of the Premier League era, with journeyman British pros such as Mike Whitlow, Paul Warhurst and Anthony Barness sharing a dressing room with international stars like Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Campo, who swapped Real Madrid for the north-west of England in the summer of 2002. The Spaniard excelled in both defence and midfield before signing a permanent deal 12 months later.

Campo remained at Bolton until 2008, when he joined Ipswich Town for a year

12. Jurgen Klinsmann, Sampdoria to Tottenham

Nine goals in 15 Premier League games – including four in the 6-2 win over Wimbledon at Selhurst Park – helped save Spurs from what would have been an ignominious relegation

Klinsmann’s first spell at White Hart Lane in 1994/95 was a huge success, with 30 goals in all competitions earning him cult hero status among the Tottenham fanbase. It was a record that also impressed Bayern Munich, who brought him back to the Bundesliga at the end of that campaign. But that wasn’t the end of Klinsmann and Tottenham’s love affair, however, with the German returning to north London in the latter half of the 1997/98 season. Nine goals in 15 Premier League games – including four in the 6-2 win over Wimbledon at Selhurst Park – helped save Spurs from what would have been an ignominious relegation.

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Jurgen Klinsmann, Tottenham

Klinsmann played his final game at Spurs in 1998 before retiring

13. Steven Caulker, Tottenham to Swansea

Caulker’s loan switch to Liverpool may have raised more than a few eyebrows earlier this week, but his reputation was a lot higher after a successful spell at Swansea back in 2011/12. The then-20-year-old cut an assured figure at the heart of the Swans’ backline, with his composure on the ball making him the ideal centre-back for Brendan Rodgers’ possession-based side. 

Caulker has failed to build on the promise he showed at the Liberty Stadium

14. Kevin Campbell, Trabzonspor to Everton

An extraordinary racist attack on Campbell by Trabzonspor chairman Mehemet Ali Yilmaz meant the striker sought a move back to England just months after signing for the Turkish club from Nottingham Forest in 1998. Everton welcomed him back to the Premier League on a loan deal until the end of the season and Campbell repaid the club’s faith manifold, scoring nine times in eight matches to lift the Merseysiders away from the relegation zone and into the sanctuary of lower mid-table. He also became the first loanee to win the Premier League Player of the Month award in April.

Kevin Campbell EFC


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