Wonga’s sponsorship isn’t Newcastle United’s only association with the ‘loan system’.
Since our relegation in the summer of 2009, Newcastle have brought in 8 players on loan: Danny Simpson, Marlon Harewood, Zurab Khizanishvili, Fitz Hall, Patrick Van Aanholt, Stephen Ireland, Hatem Ben Arfa and most recently, Loic Remy.
Which name stands out here? Well, for me it’s Khizanishvili because it’s the only one I had to Google in order to know how to spell. But for the rest of you, it should be Remy, who is proving to be the only really successful Newcastle United loanee in recent years.
Of the above list, none made significant contributions in their loan spells apart from Danny Simpson, who was signed permanently after 6 months. For the record, Ben Arfa didn’t make an impact in his time on loan here as he suffered his horrendous injury after a mere 4 appearances.
Indeed, most of the above players have been forgotten about – lost in our recent history. The question arises: do we use the loan system effectively enough? The answer here is a clear no, but the secondary question is: should we be using it?
There are some standout examples of loanees having great success in the time away from their parent clubs. Recently, notable examples include both Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge going on loan to Bolton and saving the Club from relegation in consecutive seasons. You only need to cast your mind back to last season and remember how Romelu Lukaku inspired West Brom to their best ever finish in the Premier League – he is having a similar effect for Everton this time around.
Thus, loans can bring short-term success, but the aforementioned teams have since fallen away. Bolton were relegated the very next season after Sturridge’s return to Chelsea; West Brom have failed to hit the heights of last season as of yet; and it remains to be seen how Everton will fare next season without the imposing young Belgian, when left with a striking core of Arouna Kone and Nikica Jelavic.
The inspiration for this piece came from Newcastle United being continually linked with Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha: who made his Premier League debut on Saturday in Newcastle’s magnificent victory at Old Trafford.
The primary function of loans is that they are used by the top clubs to nurture and develop their best youngsters.I detest this system, and firmly believe that there should be a rule change to prevent loans within leagues.
Sunderland, for example, have loaned the trio of Danny Welbeck, Jonny Evans and Danny Rose in the last 3 seasons. In every case, Sunderland weren’t permitted an ‘option to buy’ clause in the loan deal.
Therefore, while the parent club gains a more valuable, more experienced player, Sunderland have had to replace each of them with a poor imitation the following season. As Newcastle United are arguably the biggest club in the league underneath those who benefit from Champions League qualification, in my opinion we should think better of ourselves than to participate in this vicious circle.
We should not become an Academy for the top clubs in the Premier League. I can’ see the point of a loan without an option to buy and in the case of Zaha, there wouldn’t be one.
And so this brings us back to Loic Remy. By all accounts he is our best attacking player, and has been our most potent threat in the final third so far this season. However, the existence of a buy-out clause in this loan deal is uncertain, and if we can’t make Remy our first permanent signing of either the January or Summer windows, the exercise is ultimately futile.
What do you think about the loan system? Is it worth it for the chance of short-term success?