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Ranked! The 10 most valuable loan deals EVER

Martin Odegaard
(Image credit: PA)

Sometimes, a loan spell can actually be bad news for a club if the player in question does too well. 

No, really. Take Aston Villa's weekend hero Philippe Coutinho, for example. He cost Barcelona well over £100m – and if he starts performing to his old level at Villa Park, Barça are unlikely to let him stay in the Midlands for an affordable fee.

QUIZ! Can you name the 20 players with the biggest value increases during a Premier League loan spell?

Maybe that's just FFT getting all pessimistic on the Villans – but the possibility did get us thinking. We've looked up which players saw the biggest increases in value during a loan spell, according to the brainy chaps at Transfermarkt. How many of these players actually priced themselves out of a proper transfer there afterwards?

10. Goncalo Guedes

Loan spell: Paris Saint-Germain to Valencia
Value increase: £20.70m

Goncalo Guedes was the next big thing in Portuguese football, sparking a big-money bidding war between PSG and Manchester United after he started netting in the Champions League for Benfica and got praised by Diego Simeone. But he became out of place not long after joining.

He was just 19 when Les Parisiens paid a whopping €30m for him in January 2017. Nine months later, however, both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar had arrived and Guedes' path into the first team looked completely and utterly blocked. 

Thankfully, Jorge Mendes was there to engineer a deal for the starlet to move to Valencia for a season to continue his development (how good of him). Surely enough, Guedes was a hit in Spain and PSG actually made a €10m profit when Valencia stumped up the fee for the forward, some year and a half after PSG had bought him. Guedes left the French outfit with just eight appearances under his belt. 

9. Roger Ibanez

Roger Ibanez

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Atalanta to Roma
Value increase: £20.70m

Roma's recent history of central defenders is a curious one. What was a huge weakness for a while in the Eternal City seemed to have been solved in the strangest of manners, with United outcast Chris Smalling and Napoli stalwart Kostas Manolas both joining to plug a gap.

Atalanta bought Ibanez over from Fluminense but the Brazilian only played once in Serie A and once in the Champions League in two seasons for the Bergamo boys. Roma's loan included an €8m obligation, with Ibanez thriving in the capital. He's now a regular under Jose Mourinho. 

8. Tanguy Ndombele

Tanguy Ndombele

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Amiens to Lyon
Value increase: £21.60m

Olympique Lyonnais have a productive academy but Tottenham's record signing, Tanguy Ndombele, is not an alumnus – despite what you may have assumed of the much-maligned midfielder. 

Lyon secured a one-year loan deal from Amiens, paying €2m for the privilege, an option to buy for another €8m and crucially for Amiens, giving them 20% of any future sale. Ndombele was an instant hit, offering dynamism and energy alongside Houssem Aouar in the middle of the park, making his permanent transfer a no-brainer. 

Perhaps that provides you with a reason as to why Lyon demanded so much money for their star. He'd only been their player for a year – and really, they only received £48m when Spurs paid for the midfielder. 

7. Dejan Kulusevski

Dejan Kulusevski

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Atalanta to Parma
Value increase: £21.60m

Another Serie A loan and another from Atalanta. La Dea nurtured super Swede Dejan Kulusevski in their academy and after he broke into the first team as a semi-regular substitute in 2018, the decision was made to send him to Parma for a season to continue his development.

Kulusevski hit the ground running at the Crusaders and in 2019/20, became one of two players born after 1 January 1999 to have made at least seven assists in the top five European leagues – the other being Jadon Sancho.

Naturally, Juventus came calling, as is custom in Serie A, and seized him for €33m… before loaning him back to Parma for a year. Kulusevski's Transfermarkt value rose by £21.60m while at Parma the first time – but only by about £4m more after his second spell there.

6. Douglas Costa

Douglas Costa

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Bayern Munich to Juventus
Value increase: £22.50m

Douglas Costa arrived in a transfer window in 2015 at Bayern in which Pep Guardiola was exploring long-term replacements for Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben. The Catalan was experimenting with touchline wingers who wouldn't cut in, and his new Shakhtar signing was a regular. 

But when Carlo Ancelotti came in and moved back to favouring Ribery, Costa fell out with the Bayern board. Juventus swooped in for a high-profile loan since Kingsley Coman wasn't returning – and he became a regular at an elite European side again, playing 47 times that season. 

Costa was an undoubted success in Italy, getting over the injury issues that had hampered him in the Bundesliga. The Brazilian can't be on awful terms with Bayern seniors anymore, though: he went back to the Allianz Arena on loan last season. 

5. Duvan Zapata

Zapata

(Image credit: PA)

Loan spell: Sampdoria to Atalanta
Value increase: £22.50m

Italian clubs really love a loan, don't they? 

Duvan Zapata spent two years on the fringes of Napoli's attack after arriving from Colombia and first went on loan to Udinese and Sampdoria before the latter signed him in 2018. Weirdly though, he never played for Sampdoria as their player, going straight to Atalanta for two more years of loan, where he tore up Serie A. 

The 30-year-old is now fully settled at Atalanta and hopefully, his days of temporary accommodation are behind him. 

4. Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Real Madrid to Real Sociedad
Value increase: £27.00m

Martin Odegaard broke through so young that his dad had to give permission for him to be included on Football Manager. He spent secondary school playing in Norwegian senior football, became a Galactico as a teenager and had plenty of loan spells – but one, in particular, made him a star.

The move to Real Sociedad was the first time that Odegaard really carried a top team, as people began to sit up and take note of this prodigious talent. He was LaLiga player Player of the Month in September 2019, helped take La Real to sixth and a Europa League spot and played his way into contention for a spot at Real Madrid. 

He's since gone from strength to strength as an Arsenal player – even they had to fend off Real Sociedad to sign him originally. 

3. Achraf Hakimi

Achraf Hakimi

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Real Madrid to Borussia Dortmund
Value increase: £44.10m

In two years on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Achraf Hakimi went from being a Real Madrid squad option to a complete superstar. The Moroccan was ferociously good in attack, perfectly suited to Bundesliga football and even broke the league's speed record twice… not that it was enough to convince him to stick around at the Bernabeu. 

Hakimi reportedly spoke to Zinedine Zidane personally about leaving the Spanish capital for Antonio Conte's Inter Milan in the middle of the first lockdown. During his time at Dortmund, his value peaked at £54m – and yet he went to Inter for just shy of £40m. Bargain.

2. Luka Jovic

Luka Jovic

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Benfica to Eintracht Frankfurt
Value increase: £52.20m

Eintracht Frankfurt stumbled upon gold with their frontline of Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic. While the latter two were slightly older, however, Jovic cut his teeth in the Bundesliga, becoming the youngest scorer of five goals in a single German top-flight game. 

Jovic looked the complete package while playing at the Eagles, with strength, aerial ability, technical prowess and an eye for goal – hence that huge rise in his value. The only issue for Eintracht? Jovic wasn't their player, destined to go back to Benfica when he'd developed enough. Naturally, Real Madrid came in with a huge bid.

The Serbian has since been back to Frankfurt on another loan, scoring more league goals in his few months back in Germany than he's actually managed for Madrid since 2019. Maybe he'll get another temporary spell to boost his value again, sometime. 

1. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe

(Image credit: Getty)

Loan spell: Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain
Value increase: £76.50m

It feels like a cheat to see his name, here. Kylian Mbappe was not loaned for the same reason as everyone else on this list: his signing was a necessity to cut the corner of how to sign two £150m+ players in one summer window.

But still, the "loan spell" that Mbappe had at Paris Saint-Germain before the obligation to buy kicked in is the most fruitful loan spell of all time in terms of a value rise. Which is just as well, really – given that the French giants paid a world-record for a teenager that may well never be beaten.

Just think though: they're set to lose him for free, this summer. Mbappe really joined for nothing, is leaving for nothing… and in between, cost £169m. What an odd transfer, all in all. 

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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT