14 of the best ever Premier League loanees
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 center-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.
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.
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
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 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 below. 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.