Some of the best transfers in football history have been loan moves.
Real Madrid loanee Fernando Morientes famously collected the Champions League ‘Golden Boot’ as Monaco reached the final in 2003/04; George Weah helped Chelsea win the FA Cup on loan from AC Milan in 2000; and cult hero Amr Zaki proved an inspired temporary punt by Wigan in 2008/09.
And while fans may clamour for the big-money signing, history has told us that price tags don’t always equate to guaranteed success. Some managers prefer a test drive before splurging the big bucks. I mean, can you imagine if Man Utd forked out around £40m on Radamel Falcao from Monaco instead of loaning him first?
Indeed a temporary transfer can prove one of the most astute pieces of business a manager can produce in the market, and the below candidates are a testament to that. So, here are the 10 best loan moves across Europe’s top five leagues this campaign.
Most goals scored in the Champions League this season:
🇳🇴 Erling Haaland (6)
🏴 Marcus Rashford (6)
🇪🇸 Álvaro Morata (6)
On loan from: Real Madrid
It’s a loan move that reportedly set Juve back around €10m, but it’s so far proving money well invested for Andrea Pirlo, as Alvaro Morata has picked up from where he left off in Turin. The Spaniard is so far leading the Champions League scoring charts with six goals to his name, and has provided a club-best five assists in Serie A for Juve.
He has also netted four goals, putting him second only to Cristiano Ronaldo (15) in the league, while he has also proven the perfect foil for the Portuguese superstar. His three assists to Juve’s leading scorer makes the Morata-Ronaldo partnership the second most prolific in Serie A, behind only Dries Mertens-to-Hirving Lozano (four).
Club: Union Berlin
On loan from: Liverpool
Union Berlin are absolutely flying this season, with the capital club just one point off fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table and enjoying a recent run which has seen them claim a point off Bayern Munich, and secure wins over BVB as well as Bayer Leverkusen.
Max Kruse has been the fulcrum of Urs Fischer’s side, but the summer freebie has been injured since early-December and in his absence Taiwo Awoniyi has really come to the fore. The 23-year-old has scored five times and registered a further assist for the Berliners, while he also boasts the second-most successful take-ons (11) and the best non-penalty xG (3.99), highlighting his all-round game.
Awoniyi has endured a nomadic career since joining Liverpool in 2015. He has been farmed out to several clubs on loan as he has been unable to gain a work permit, and while he says it is his “dream to play for Liverpool” one day, he admits a “permanent” departure is likely as he seeks stability in his career.
On loan from: Amiens
Gael Kakuta was once caught up in the infamous revolving loan door at Chelsea during his nascent years, and at 29 you would have thought the DR Congo international had finally settled down, but this season he is enjoying his ninth loan spell away from his parent club, donning the colours of Lens, whom the Blues initially signed him from in 2007.
Back where it all started, Kakuta has been in scintillating form for Sang et Or, involving himself directly in 12 goals (eight finishes, four assists) in Ligue 1, topping the charts for Lens in both departments. His exploits have proven invaluable for the newly-promoted club as they sit comfortably in mid-table. continue reading