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6 Worst loanees in Premier League history

Good players don't always make good signings

Tom Bodell

When Swansea plugged a Gylfi Sigurdsson-shaped hole with Renato Sanches last summer the move was seen as a coup.

Not only was the 20-year-old arriving on loan from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, he moved to South Wales as a member of Portugal’s 2016 European Championships-winning squad.

Ordinarily Sanches was a player the Swans could never hope to attract to the Liberty Stadium. But the loan system, plus Paul Clement’s relationship with Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, made the deal possible.

But the former Benfica prospect has been a disaster in the Premier League, making just nine league starts for the strugglers. Last month he returned to Bavaria early, but it transpired he was only getting treatment with his parent club before returning to Carlos Carvalhal’s squad.

All of which got us thinking about other awful loanees. Some deals work out brilliantly – think Christophe Dugarry inspiring Birmingham City to avoid relegation in 2003 – but there are plenty which don’t.

Our friends at Football Whispers have come up with six of the worst in Premier League history.

Andy Booth – Tottenham Hotspur, 2001

Spurs have what can best be described as a chequered history when it comes to strikers. For every Lineker, Greaves or Kane there’s a Rasiak, Postiga or Booth.

Quite how caretaker boss David Pleat settled on the Sheffield Wednesday hitman as the answer to Tottenham’s problems in January 2001 is anyone’s guess. But availability at short notice probably had something to do with it.

Granted, the North Londoners were without three senior strikers at the time due to injury, but it was still an odd one to say the least.

In three outings for Tottenham the powerful forward failed to find the back of the net and he later went on to become a hero for League One Huddersfield Town, plundering 81 goals in 236 league starts before retiring in 2009.

Roque Junior – Leeds United, 2004

The modern transfer window was introduced for the 2002/03 season with the aim of preventing clubs spending beyond their means throughout the entire ten months of the season.

However, Leeds clearly had trouble adapting to the new model and, staring financial oblivion in the face, the Whites made one of their worst signings when they landed Roque Junior on loan.

On paper it looked a good deal. Part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning side, the centre-back arrived from Italian giants Milan. But it soon became clear why the Rossoneri wanted rid.

Sent off after conceding a penalty on his home debut against Birmingham, Leeds conceded 24 times in just seven games with the Samba star in defence, setting the tone for relegation to the Championship.

Julien Faubert – Real Madrid, 2009

A decent player in his pomp with a 100 percent international strike rate for France – one cap, one goal – Faubert arrived at West Ham in 2007 with a big reputation from his time at Bordeaux.

But the midfielder never quite found his rhythm at Upton Park and was not helped by the Hammers’ trevails or being shunted from right midfield to right-back under Gianfranco Zola.

All of which made it even stranger that he joined Real Madrid on loan in January 2009. Los Blancos, ambitiously one feels, even included the option to sign Faubert on a permanent basis for an undisclosed fee.

That was never in danger of happening, though, with Faubert an unmitigated disaster in Spain. After accidentally missing training as he thought he had the day off, the Frenchman then fell asleep on the bench during a game against Villarreal. He returned to London after just two outings.

Kim Kallstrom – Arsenal, 2014

Once the master of the transfer market, they say Arsene Wenger is losing his touch. If any signing in the last decade is proof of that it’s Kallstrom.

The midfielder, in fairness, has always been a decent player. More than 100 caps for Sweden and a lengthy career in Europe with Lyon and Spartak Moscow are testament to that. But his time at Arsenal was a stinker.

Not long after he joined on loan from Spartak it was revealed a back injury had been flagged up during his medical. Nothing to worry about, Arsenal decided, and pushed ahead with the deal in order to beat the January deadline.

It later transpired Kallstrom had damaged his back playing beach football 48 hours prior to his deadline-day move and, at one point, there was a fear he would never pull on an Arsenal shirt. He eventually did, but made just four Gunners appearances after waiting two months for his debut.

Radamel Falcao – Manchester United, 2014/15 and Chelsea 2015/16

The summer of 2014 was quite exciting for United supporters. David Moyes was gone and in came serial winner Louis van Gaal, ready to steer the Red Devils to Premier League glory.

The signings of Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao only strengthened that belief. Except, in reality, Falcao went from ‘El Tigre’ to ‘El Housecat’.

It took the Colombian – who cost£6million up front with a£43.5million option to buy – until October 5 to net his first goal. He managed just three more in 29 outings and left Old Trafford an expensive flop.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho clearly saw something in Falcao and took him on loan the following season. The result was predictable: a single goal in 12 appearances.

He’s since rediscovered his best form with Monaco, hitting more than 50 goals in two campaigns. It’s almost like Ligue 1 is weaker than the Premier League…

Alexandre Pato – Chelsea, 2016

Not content with one busted flush on the books, Chelsea decided the player they needed to kickstart their awful 2015/16 campaign was perennial crock Alexandre Pato.

Once considered among the brightest prospects in the world, the Milan forward had fallen foul of horrendous luck with injuries and returned to Brazil to join Corinthians in 2013.

The move did not work out, though, and he was shipped out on loan to Sao Paulo before moving to Stamford Bridge in January 2016.

Even with nothing to play for Pato was afforded just two Premier League appearances for the Blues, scoring his only goal from the penalty spot at hapless Aston Villa, before departing as a footnote in the club’s recent history.

He now turns out for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian.

By Tom Bodell – follow Tom and the rest of the team at Football Whispers on Twitter @FB_Whispers

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