There for a short time and a good time
Loan deals are generally wannabes gaining first-team experience, has-beens getting some minutes in the legs or never-will-bes freeing up space for shiny new signings.
Rarely are loan moves an opportunity for the player to ‘trade up’, notwithstanding that six-month stint at Real Madrid for Julien Faubert. But some loanees have won the Premier League: can you name them? In each case, we'll give you some clues by setting the context for their glorious triumph on borrowed time.
Blackburn Rovers 1994/95's mystery midfielder...
Having formerly played his football with Ajax, Barcelona and Bordeaux as well as representing the Dutch national side, this midfielder was seen as quite the coup for Blackburn on transfer deadline day in March 1995. Rovers were top of the Premier League table by three points from Manchester United with a game in hand on Alex Ferguson’s men as they chased their first top division title since the First World War.
Rovers needed cover for the injured Jason Wilcox, who had been sensational for Kenny Dalglish’s side. Coming in for the final throes of the season to join the likes of David Batty, Alan Shearer, Tim Sherwood and Colin Hendry was… you'll see on the next slide.
Dutch international Witschge joined with eight Premier League games of the season remaining but failed to prove his worth, playing just once for Rovers as they claimed the title from Manchester United by a single point. Needless to say, the Dutchman’s loan deal wasn’t made permanent and he returned to Bordeaux for another season before going home to first club Ajax.
Back in Amsterdam he added another league title and a couple of Dutch Cups to the two Spanish league titles and European Cup he won with Barcelona before his short spell in Lancashire.
Manchester United 2000/01's guest goalkeeper...
A year after Peter Schmeichel's farewell, United were experiencing a series of rebound flings with goalkeepers. Meme-in-waiting Massimo Taibi left in summer 2000, while Mark Bosnich did (again) in January. That left undisputed No.1 Fabien Barthez sandwiched by Raymond van der Gouw (37) and Paul Rachubka (19). But with the French World Cup winner suffering from long-running knee issues and Van Der Gouw undergoing surgery, United were forced into the loan market.
“We need cover in the form of an experienced goalkeeper who can handle a European tie. There is no one better in a big-game situation – we are delighted to have him until the end of the season,” enthused Ferguson. He was, of course, talking about…
Besides 43 Scotland caps, Goram had won six league titles with Rangers, including three Doubles and a Treble, and had vast experience in European competition. The 36-year-old had been in good form with Motherwell, who were reluctant to let him leave until United threw in a £100,000 loan fee to sweeten the deal.
Goram played twice, conceding four times as United beat Coventry at home and lost at Southampton. Goram went on to play for Hamilton Academical, Coventry, Oldham, Queen of the South and Elgin City before hanging up his gloves in 2004.
Chelsea 2005/06's impermanent Portugueezer...
Jose Mourinho joined Chelsea after two years at Porto during which he won two league titles, a Portuguese Cup and the Champions League in 2004. After moving to London, he set about bringing in a few familiar faces in Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira, plus Thiago from arch-rivals Benfica.
At the first attempt he sealed Chelsea's first top-flight title in 50 years via record-breaking numbers of wins (29), points (95) and clean sheets (25). Endeavouring to retain the trophy, Mourinho boosted his squad with a mid-season move for yet another of his former charges from Porto. But who?
January loanee Maniche played a total of 11 matches for Chelsea as the Blues retained their Premier League title. The Portugal midfielder had left Porto for Dynamo Moscow the summer after Mourinho, but soon became unsettled in the Russian capital.
Competing for a Chelsea shirt with Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien, Maniche only played eight league matches – not enough to pick up a winner’s medal – before moving on to Atletico Madrid at the end of the season. Curiously, Maniche went on loan to Inter in January 2008 – the season before Mourinho took over – where he also played eight league matches as the Nerazzurri won the title.
Manchester United 2006/07's twin loanees...
Despite leading the Premier League by six points and having scored the most goals in the first half of the season, Sir Alex Ferguson clearly felt that his attack of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo was lacking something. United had sold Ruud van Nistelrooy but were desperate to re-establish themselves above Chelsea as the dominant force in English football, despite only signing Michael Carrick in the summer transfer window. But which striker did he borrow?
As well as a goal-grabber, Fergie also needed a goalkeeper to cover Edwin van der Sar. But to whom did he throw the reserve gloves?
Larsson had just re-signed for hometown club Helsingborgs when he agreed a short-term move to United during the Swedish off-season between January and March. He scored on his debut in the FA Cup against Aston Villa and ended up with three in 13 appearances before heading back home for the start of the Allsvenskan season.
Sir Alex Ferguson publicly admired the Swede's professionalism and tried to extend the loan, but ultimately respected the promise Larsson had made to his family. For his part, Larsson has admitted that the only regret of his career was not staying and picking up a Premier League winner’s medal.
In the same season, United also needed a spare goalkeeper after allowing Tim Howard to move to Everton...
...and Tomasz Kuszczak
For the first time since Peter Schmeichel's 1999 departure, United had a reliable first-choice goalkeeper in Edwin van der Sar. But there were changes in the supporting cast of net-dwellers: former top dog Tim Howard was off to Everton, initially on loan, while Ben Foster was continuing his loan education back at freshly-promoted Watford.
The Kuszczak transfer was complicated – initially a loan but always destined for permanence, with England U18 goalkeeper Luke Steele and Paul McShane going the other way. The 24-year-old Poland international only made six Premier League appearances in his first season, requiring special dispensation to get a medal, but went on to play 61 times across six years at Old Trafford, winning three top-flight titles and the 2008 Champions League.
Manchester United 2007/08 and 2008/09's long-term loanee...
Having regained the Premier League title the previous season, Manchester United set about ensuring they would retain it with a busy summer in the transfer market. The loan deal for Tomasz Kuszczak was made permanent, Owen Hargreaves arrived from Bayern Munich and both Nani and Anderson were bought from Sporting and Porto respectively while a host of youngsters and fringe players were allowed to depart including Alan Smith, Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Richardson. The retirement of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the sale of Giuseppe Rossi to Villarreal meant that United were a little light up top, and an opportunity to bring in a quality striker on a two-year loan deal proved too good to turn down for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Tevez arrived at Old Trafford following protracted negotiations between Media Sport Investment, West Ham United, Manchester United and super-agent Kia Joorabchian. Having helped the Hammers stay in the Premier League, Tevez excelled at Old Trafford: his 34 goals in 99 games helped the club to successive Premier League titles, the League Cup, the Club World Cup and the Champions League.
Controversy has followed Tevez throughout his career and so it proved again when he left United for rivals Manchester City, adding another Premier League title and an FA Cup to make it a clean sweep of every domestic trophy in English football.
Manchester City 2011/12's borrowed ball-player...
City and United were neck-and-neck at the top of the Premier League table as the January transfer window drew to a close in 2012. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had won the league by losing just four all season, but Roberto Mancini’s City had lifted the FA Cup, their first trophy in 35 years.
Both managers turned to familiar faces in their bids to bolster their respective squads for the run-in, with United dragging Paul Scholes out of retirement while Mancini turned to his double-winning Inter squad from the 2005/06 season for a midfield reinforcement.
Signing for City from Roma on the winter 2012 deadline day, Chilean international Pizarro renewed acquaintances with City boss Roberto Mancini, who had coached the midfielder to an Italian Double in the 2005/06 season at Inter.
Pizarro joined City at the right time – the club had won their first trophy in 35 years the previous May and were on their way to winning the Premier League title in the most dramatic fashion. Sadly for him, he only made five appearances and missed out on a Premier League winners' medal; that became doubly painful the following season, when the minimum for a medal halved from 10 games to five. Now 38, he's still playing football in his homeland with Universidad de Chile.
Leicester City 2015/16's fleeting flanker...
Ahead of the 2015/16 season, Leicester City side were favourites for relegation. They'd been bottom the previous Christmas, Nigel Pearson had been sacked and they'd replaced him with Claudio Ranieri, widely derided after a disastrous stint in charge of the Greek national team.
They bought well, adding vastly experienced Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs at the back and bringing in little known N’Golo Kante from Caen along with Swiss international Gokhan Inler. As transfer deadline day arrived, Ranieri felt he was lacking in attacking options and brought in a winger from a Premier League club also among the favourites to go down at the end of the campaign. But who was the wide-man?
Dyer joined the Foxes on deadline day from Swansea City, moving from the previous season’s ninth-best Premier League club to the 14th – surely a backwards step. It quickly became clear that the expected relegation scrap wasn’t to be for Dyer or Leicester, as the Foxes got to Christmas top of the Premier League table having lost just once all season.
Dyer played a total of 12 matches for Leicester as they romped to the title, 10 points ahead of the chasing pack, losing just three matches all season. After his glorious season in the East Midlands, Dyer returned to the Swans and a 15th-place finish followed by a relegation fight with the Welsh club.
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