Amid the increasing likelihood of more loan signings this summer, it’s time to check out the five most successful loan stars in recent history.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the finances of football clubs across the world, throwing transfer plans in jeopardy. Thus, more loan and swap deals will likely come into play this summer.
Of course, footballers going out on loan is nothing new. It’s become a common trend in 2020, with players of all ages spending time elsewhere from their parent clubs for various reasons.
So let’s take a look at five of the best loan stars in recent history.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona to AC Milan)
Following an ugly confrontation with Pep Guardiola, which allegedly saw Zlatan brand the Barcelona coach a ‘spineless coward’, the big Swede returned to Italy on a season-long loan deal with AC Milan for 2010/11.
Ibrahimovic formed a key part of Massimiliano Allegri’s title-winning squad, providing 14 goals and 12 assists in 29 league games.
Milan promptly signed Ibrahimovic on a permanent deal in the summer of 2011 from Barcelona, for a fee worth €24m, before surprisingly selling him to Paris Saint-Germain a year later.
Duvan Zapata (Sampdoria to Atalanta)
The Colombia international has been in sensational form since swapping Sampdoria for Atalanta on a two-year loan deal in 2018. He’s actually managed 46 goals and 16 assists in just 77 outings for La Dea.
Zapata’s impressive form helped Gian Piero Gasperini’s side qualify for the Champions League for the first time in history last season. He’s since helped them reach the quarter-finals of the competition this term.
Therefore, Atalanta signed Zapata on a permanent deal in January for just €12m.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Atletico Madrid)
As Petr Cech was the undisputed first-choice keeper at Chelsea, Courtois joined Atletico Madrid on a three-season loan deal in 2011.
The Belgian, who was just 19 at the time, developed into one of Europe’s best shot-stoppers in the Spanish capital, keeping 76 clean sheets in 154 appearances. He even tasted La Liga and Europa League glory among the four trophies won with Atletico.
Courtois was also on the winning side when Atletico and Chelsea went head-to-head in the UEFA Super Cup and a Champions League semi-final clash.
Fernando Morientes (Real Madrid to AS Monaco)
As Real Madrid welcomed several star signings, aka ‘Galacticos’, in the early 2000s, Morientes slipped down the pecking order. Therefore, he joined Monaco on loan in 2003/04.
The striker made a tremendous impact, scoring 22 goals in 42 games to help Monaco reach the Champions League final. He also finished as the competition’s top-scorer on nine goals.
It was a huge personal triumph for Morientes, especially when his goals in a quarter-final clash with Real Madrid sent his parent club packing.
The only downside was failing to win the Champions League itself, as Monaco lost the final 3-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Porto.
Mohamed Salah (Chelsea to Fiorentina/AS Roma)
Finishing our list of top 5 loan stars in football history is Mo Salah.
After struggling to make his mark at Chelsea between 2014 and 2015, Salah joined Fiorentina on loan. His time with La Viola was brief, but a productive one on nine goals in 26 games.
Salah later went on loan to Roma for the 2015/16 season, where he endeared himself to the Italian club with 14 goals and six assists to help them secure a top-three finish in the Serie A standings.
Roma then signed Salah on a permanent deal the following season for €15m before selling him to Liverpool in 2017 for €42m. Not a bad deal at all, right? Although the Giallorossi would probably have been better off had he stayed.