The Loan Rangers
With the potential loan move to Tottenham Hotspur of David Beckham, OTP takes the opportunity to look at ten players who made an impressive impact during short term deals.
Clearly there will be those that you think we have missed, so feel free to provide suggestions.
1. Christophe Dugarry
Stephane Guivarch, Florent Sinama Pongolle, William Prunier. There have been some dreadful French imports into the Premier League that haven’t stuck around too long, but Monsieur Dugarry est pas de one of these. In 2003 he joined Birmingham City on loan. At 31 and with 55 French caps under his belt, many thought he was simply after a final payoff in the English leagues. However, a run of five goals in as many games cemented Birmingham’s Premier League survival and the Frenchman’s cult hero status. As manager Steve Bruce noted:
He was absolutely unbelievable. I have never seen an individual play like he did in that period
Signed permanently, the Frenchman tailed off, but for his loan period he must make this list.
2. Kieran Richardson
Certainly not to be confused with the Hollyoaks actor of the same name (dreadful show, dreadful actors). When Fergie did his old captain Bryan Robson a favour by loaning him Richardson in 2005, he could not have imagined the impact he would have. Bottom at Christmas, West Brom survived on the final day. Kieran scored three goals in 12 games, including one on the final day to ensure survival. Richardson’s form was so impressive that he received his first England cap shortly after, scoring twice on debut against USA. If only it had been so easy in the World Cup.
3. Ivan Campo
From cult hero to cult hero, though in the case of Ivan Campo even more so. When the fuzzy-haired Spanish international joined from Real Madrid, it would be fair to say that a few eyebrows were raised. Madrid to Bolton, you say? Scored a wonder goal on debut against Spurs, but became loved for his tenacity, work rate and desire.
Campo enjoyed the North West so much that he signed a three year deal at the club, despite expectations that he would return home. Unlike Dugarry, continued to give his all for the entirety of his Bolton career. I have a mate that has a Bolton shirt for this season with Campo on the back. Just about says it all.
4. Henrik Larsson
Strange one this, because made relatively few appearances for United in what was certainly the twilight of his career, and yet made himself a fans’ favourite instantly, inviting an offer of a permanent deal from Fergie, which Larsson politely declined. Scored three goals in thirteen games for the club, but only started eight games. Given special dispensation to receive a Premier League winners medal despite not playing the full quota of games.
His popularity and relative success at United hints at a disappointment that he did not move to the Premier League to show off his precocious talents earlier in his career.
5. Robbie Keane
Had a successful spell at Celtic last year, but appears in this list for his time at Leeds United nine years earlier. After a big money move to Italian giants Inter Milan stilted before it had even begun, Keane was desperate for a move back to England. Leeds provided an ideal showcase for the young striker’s talents (he was still just 21), and David O’Leary was impressed enough to pay £7million to make the deal permanent, principally due to his record of 9 goals in 14 starts. In truth, given that he had moved to Italy for £13million, it was a no-brainer of a deal.
6. Jurgen Klinsmann
It is rare that a player moves back to a club on loan after previously playing for them on a permanent basis, but Spurs fans new exactly what they could expect from Klinsmann when he moved back to the club on loan in 1997. He had scored 29 goals for Spurs in his one season at the club, and fans hoped he would help lead the club from relegation trouble.
The Messiah had returned. The German scored 9 goals in 15 appearances and steered Spurs away from trouble. It would be the last club football Klinsmann would play (aside from a jaunt in the US amateur game), and he retired after the 1998 World Cup.
7. Andres D’Alessandro
Like so many before him, the ‘New Maradona’ acted as a burden on the shoulders of D’Alessandro, a player who despite seemingly being around for ever is playing for Internacional of Brazil, aged just 29.
When he joined Portsmouth in January 2006, the club were 19th in the Premier League and six points off safety. D’Alessandro made thirteen appearances for Pompey, scoring a contender for goal of the season against Charlton in April. By the time May had arrived, Portsmouth had survived by four points, and Harry Redknapp wanted the Argentinean on a permanent deal. Moving to Spain, a nomadic career continued.
8. Mikel Arteta
His presence now being intrinsically linked to Everton’s success in the Premier League, it easy to forget that Arteta initially arrived on Merseyside on loan. Joining in January 2005 from Real Sociedad, the Spaniard almost immediately won over the Everton fans as the club qualified for the Champions League for the first time. Signed on a permanent deal for £2million and successful ever since, is Arteta the greatest Premier League player of all time without an international cap (and yes, you can smell another Top Ten idea!)?
9. Mauro Zarate
Zarate’s reputation upon his loan move to Premier League Birmingham City could only have been forged by players of Championship Manager. Joined from Qatari club Al-Sadd, but his Middle East location at such an early stage of his career hinted at a wasted talent.
The Argentinean striker set about revoking these opinions with an enviable goalscoring record whilst attempting to haul Birmingham City from relegation trouble. Despite only six starts at St Andrews, the 5’7” striker scored four goals. Birmingham were eventually relegated, but Zarate had enhaced his reputation to such a level that a £20million move to Lazio was forthcoming.
10. Kevin Campbell
This top ten list is not necessarily intended to be read in any particular order, but if it was then King Kev #2 would be towards the upper echelons. When he joined in March 1999, Everton were in serious relegation trouble, only two points ahead of second-from-bottom Charlton.
Quite simply, Campbell was astounding. He scored nine goals in eight games, becoming the club’s top goalscorer despite so few appearances. Indeed he even won April’s Premier League Player of the Month, the first on-loan player to do so. A permanent deal soon followed.