12 surprising loan spells you've almost certainly forgotten about
Kyle Walker to Northampton
Walker, who grew up around a mile from Bramall Lane, joined boyhood club Sheffield United at the age of seven and made his maiden first-team appearance as an 18-year-old in January 2009. Before that, though, the right-back spent two months on loan at Northampton, who handed him his professional debut and eight further outings in League One.
More than that, though, it was a huge growing-up experience for Walker, who admitted earlier this year: “I can remember driving down with my mum and dad. They were in the front car and I had to follow them down because I’d never driven on a motorway before.
“Some of those [Northampton] players depend[ed] on winning games – that can pay their mortgage. So it was a fantastic opportunity for me and a really massive learning curve to go down there.”
Jonjo Shelvey to Blackpool
A series of impressive performances for Charlton in the Championship and League One convinced Liverpool to spend £1.7m on Shelvey in May 2010. The midfielder played 21 times for the Reds in his first season at the club, before embarking on a loan stint at Blackpool in the autumn of 2011.
The 19-year-old performed brilliantly at Bloomfield Road, scoring six goals in 10 league games for Ian Holloway’s charges – including a hat-trick in a 5-0 vanquishing of Leeds. The deal was cut short after two months, however, with the Reds recalling Shelvey due to an injury crisis at Anfield.
Aaron Ramsey to Nottingham Forest
Arsenal midfielder Ramsey briefly returned to boyhood club Cardiff in January 2011, 11 months after he suffered a horrific leg break against Stoke in the Premier League. Before that more memorable move, however, the Welshman spent six weeks in the East Midlands, joining Nottingham Forest on a short-term loan as he sought to build up his match fitness.
That was the intention, at least. As it turned out, Ramsey made just two Championship starts under Billy Davies – although one of them was Forest’s 5-2 triumph over local rivals Derby.
Mart Poom to Arsenal
As well as sending youngsters out to cut their teeth in the lower leagues, top Premier League clubs have made several forgettable loan signings of their own.
Chief among them is Arsenal's capture of Mart Poom in 2005. Seeking cover for Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia, Arsene Wenger borrowed the Sunderland goalkeeper for three months, before converting the temporary arrangement into a permanent transfer in January – despite the fact that Poom had yet to make his debut for the Gunners. The Estonian did appear twice in 2006/07, though, before departing for Watford at the end of the season.
Ross Barkley to Leeds
Barkley’s Everton debut was delayed when he broke his leg while on international duty with England’s under-19s in October 2010. His first-team bow eventually arrived at the start of 2011/12, but the now-Chelsea midfielder was soon sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday, for whom he scored four goals in 13 Championship appearances.
Barkley also spent time at Leeds during that campaign, although his one-month stint at Elland Road was altogether more forgettable: he failed to find the net and played the full 90 minutes just twice under Neil Warnock.
Danny Welbeck to Preston
Many will recall Welbeck’s temporary switch to Sunderland in 2010/11, but that wasn’t the first time that the forward spent time away from Old Trafford while contracted to Manchester United. At the start of 2010, the 19-year-old became Darren Ferguson’s first signing as Preston boss, joining North End until the end of the season.
A knee injury limited Welbeck to just eight appearances for the Championship side, in which time he scored twice as Preston successfully avoided the drop.