14 of the best ever Premier League loan signings

Romelu Lukaku West Brom

They came, and then they went (in most cases) – but each of these loan stars left an indelible mark on their temporary clubs

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1. Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea to Bolton

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. Sturridge bagged eight goals in 12 league encounters – including a last-minute winner on his debut against Wolves – and became 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's 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 (the Swede also netted in the FA Cup and Champions League).

“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 2006/07 season proved unsuccessful.

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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.

5. Amr Zaki, Zamalek to Wigan

According to FIFA’s official 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 above.

The move turned sour a few months later, though, with Steve Bruce labelling him the most unprofessional player he'd 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

Remy joined Newcastle following QPR’s relegation in 2013, and scored 14 Premier League goals for the Magpies to earn himself a permanent switch to Chelsea the following summer. It's proved a bit of a false dawn, though: Remy has only managed 37 Premier League appearances in the three full seasons since, scoring eight times.  


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 an even better deal for the Toffees, as the Spaniard played 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.