Premier League clubs and players haven’t squeezed as much value out of the loan market as they could but now is the time for these four players.
The loan market remains a largely untapped entity in football. The clubs seem to perceive it as an interim solution and the players seem to avoid its permanence. This is why the loan market is dominated by young, emerging players looking for playing time. But, ever-growing team sizes and shrinking finances could mean loan moves are becoming more common in the game. If used well, loan moves can become a crucial part of a Premier League club’s long-term strategy.
These four Premier League players are said to be on loan
1. Naby Keïta
Keita saw his time in Merseyside cut short by recurring injuries. Although he has been at Liverpool for more than two years now, he has only made 71 appearances for the club. Thiago’s arrival last summer has strengthened the competition for midfield places and could hamper first-team opportunities for the Guinean midfielder. But with three years remaining on his contract, Liverpool will not be inclined to sell a player they paid £ 52.75million for.
In addition to regular playing minutes, a loan could give Keita the opportunity to regain his self-confidence. A reunion with his former coach Ralph Hassenhüttl at Southampton could be an option. But the exhausted Liverpool squad this season makes it unlikely that they will let any players go in the current transfer window. But, Keita’s situation should be revisited at the end of the season.
2. Calum Chambers
It’s easy to forget that Chambers was one of Arsenal’s best players in the first half of last season. He had cemented his place in the backline and Arteta spoke enthusiastically about the Englishman when he took over as manager in December. But in Arteta’s first game in charge, he sustained an ACL injury that ruled him out for over a year. That’s the theme of Chambers’ time at Arsenal – a mix of sporadic form, wasted opportunity and bad luck.
In six years at Arsenal, he has already been loaned twice. And now a third seems likely. This will give Chambers a chance to have consistent playing time and the opportunity to prove his worth to Arteta. And even if Arsenal decide not to put him back into the squad after loan, Chambers’ physical form will make him a more attractive prospect for suitors.
3. Fikayo Tomori
Tomori was Derby County’s Player of the Season in Frank Lampard’s lone season at the club. When Lampard took the reins of Chelsea the following year, he brought Tomori back with him. The center-back was a crucial cog in Chelsea’s defense during the first half of last season, but found himself slipping through the pecking order at the start of the year. He didn’t play a single minute in Project Lockdown and looked ready for a loan in the summer transfer window. He turned down West Ham because he did not have guaranteed playing time and a transfer to Everton was blocked by the club.
The Englishman having only made 4 appearances all season, a loan in January is imperative for his development. Frank Lampard seems to have realized this as well and at a recent press conference he confirmed that Tomori may be leaving Stamford Bridge this month. AC Milan appear to be the favorites to sign the center-back, but Premier League clubs like Leeds and Newcastle remain in the running as well.
4. Jesse Lingard
Just over two years ago, Jesse Lingard was one of the most promising prospects in English football. He finished the 2017-18 season as United’s second-highest goalscorer and has also started every World Cup game in Russia. His on-pitch flair matched that of it and his social media antics made him a United fan favorite. The drop has been brutal. Plagued by family issues and mental health issues, the Englishman’s confidence suffered and with it, his performance. He had a much ridiculed year-long goal drought in 2019 and his only league goal of the season came in United’s last game of the season! The arrival of Bruno Fernandes, a player with a similar profile to Lingard, has only further complicated matters. The Englishman has been largely limited to a bench role and has yet to make an appearance in the Premier League this season.
But United clearly still believe in Lingard, having extended his contract until 2022 in December of last year. Somewhere deep down, a good player still exists. But, he needs confidence. Six months on loan gives him the opportunity to have regular playing time and a chance to force himself back into Solskjaer’s plans for next season. Sheffield United have reportedly expressed interest in taking him on loan and there have also been rumors of interest from overseas. While he may write his long-term future at Old Trafford, his short-term future is elsewhere.