Arsenal’s best EVER midfield talent, the answer to Man United’s left back problems and an Aston Villa forward storming through League Two… who does your Premier League club have out on loan that could star next term?
- Liverpool and Man United have two of the most promising defenders around
- Worryingly, some young Premier League prospects are being starved of minutes
- REVEALED on It’s All Kicking Off: Man United’s January transfer window plans… and how the Sir Jim Ratcliffe takeover will impact them
One of the most thrilling things as a football fan is the idea that your team might have a hidden gem on their clubs.
While other clubs slum it out in the transfer market, you get to sit back smugly knowing that the expensive solution to all your problems is already on your doorstep.
With the season nearly half gone, Premier League clubs will have already extensively planned for the summer, and monitoring the progress of players out on loan is a key part of that.
Manchester City have a huge decision about what to do with James McAtee, lovingly reared from the youth academy, while some of their rivals face similar scenarios.
William Saliba and Destiny Udogie are proof of the merits of going out on loan to mature as they are now among Arsenal and Tottenham’s top performers.
With that in mind, Mail Sport asks: who does your club have out on loan who could be the next big thing?
For some outfits there is an answer to set pulses racing. For others, the prospects are more murky.
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Arsenal – Charlie Patino
Charlie Patino was described by a scout as the best player to come through Arsenal’s academy
Charlie Patino, 20, has spent the last couple of years on loan in the Championship and is currently at Swansea, where he has three goals and four assists in 16 games.
The midfielder is hardly a stranger to Gunners fans, having scored on his debut in a 5-1 win over Sunderland in December 2021.
Former Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton, who once spotted a certain Jack Wilshere, said Patino was the best youngster ever to come through the club’s Hale End academy.
‘His first touch was unbelievable, his vision, his awareness of space,’ he said after seeing him aged 11, playing for an under 13s team. ‘He was way above his years, he was on another planet to anyone else on the pitch.’
Speaking exclusively with Mail Sport in October, Patino explained how seeing William Saliba go out on loan and come back to a prominent first-team place was ‘inspiring’.
With Blackpool and Swansea, Patino has been with sides at the weaker end of the Championship scale. He was part of Blackpool’s relegated squad last season and Swansea sit 18th.
While their styles might not match Arsenal, he has done his best to stand out and the youngster who grew up in London Colney, not far from the club’s training centre, has big dreams.
Seeing fellow academy graduates such as Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, and Eddie Nketiah break into the team has offered him the glimmer of light he needs.
Aston Villa – Louie Barry
Louie Barry has been in prolific form for Stockport in League Two and used to be on the books at Barcelona
Highly-rated youngster Louie Barry is tearing it up with Stockport County at the pinnacle of League Two, scoring nine goals in 18 games from the wing.
His career has followed a bizarre trajectory. After ten years at West Brom, he upped sticks for Barcelona in July 2019 aged 16.
It caused something of a ruckus because the Spanish giants didn’t pay the Midlands club anything for him, as per The Athletic, with FIFA ruling they didn’t have to as they hadn’t offered him a scholarship.
By January 2020 he had signed for Aston Villa, and since then he has been on five different loans.
A debut goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup in 2021 gave Barry hope and his form at Stockport is certain to push him back into the picture.
Still only 20, a player who used to train near Lionel Messi could have a big future ahead of him.
Bournemouth – James Hill
Defender James Hill is acquiring valuable Championship experience with Blackburn
James Hill is currently learning his trade on loan at Blackburn, where he has been starting at centre-back and right-back.
Since breaking into the starting line-up in early October, he hasn’t looked back.
His Championship experience would come in handy should the Cherries go down, though they’re 10 points clear of the drop zone now.
Bournemouth picked him up from Fleetwood in January 2022, just months after a lesser-spotted Barcelona scout cropped up at the League One club’s ground to monitor his progress.
Hill is progressing nicely after a loan at Hearts in Scotland last season and has featured for England U21s.
Brentford – Paris Maghoma
Paris Maghoma has won over boss Ian Evatt as Bolton battle for promotion from League One
Glamorous in name, Brentford are hoping Paris Maghoma will become a stylish Premier League footballer in nature.
The 22-year-old midfielder is spending time with Bolton in League One, where he has contributed four goals in 21 outings.
He has yet to appear for Brentford and still has some way to go before banging down the door of the first team.
Bolton manager Ian Evatt has been impressed with the skilful central midfielder and hopes Brentford won’t recall him in January.
He said: ‘We have seen him express himself and I think there is more to come from him. We are delighted to have him and hopefully he can continue to keep up the performances he has been putting in.’
Brighton – Abdallah Sima
Abdallah Sima is one of the brightest prospects on this list, with 14 goals for Rangers so far
The Seagulls have a knack of unearthing talent from the unlikeliest sources, and they may have struck gold with Abdallah Sima.
Sima has 14 goals in 29 games on loan at Rangers and is bolstering his reputation each week.
In a pivot from their South American recruitment drive, Brighton picked up the Senegalese forward from Slavia Prague in 2021 after he was one of the top scorers in the Czech First League.
He struggled for goals at Angers in Ligue 1 last season, but since swapping France for the vineyards of Scotland he has come alive.
The 22-year-old was on the scoresheet as Rangers booked their place in the Europa League last 16 with a 3-2 win at Real Betis, so he is acquiring good European experience.
Able to play in a variety of attacking positions, Brighton have options for how to deploy him when he returns next summer.
Burnley – Luke McNally
Luke McNally is building on his times with Coventry by playing consistent football at Stoke
If Burnley are headed for the Championship, they could do worse than having Luke McNally in their set-up after his two seasons playing at that level.
The 24-year-old was part of the Coventry side that reached the play-off final last season and he has backed that up with consistent appearances at Stoke this campaign.
While Stoke are just three points and as many places clear of the relegation zone, they have a top-half defensive record.
McNally isn’t the most heralded name on this list and hasn’t risen through the gilded wonderkid stream, but he has worked hard to reach where he is.
The first seasons of his career were spent in Ireland before he moved to Oxford United in League One and did enough to impress Burnley, though he only made a couple of outings in the first half of last season before going out on loan in January.
Chelsea – Andrey Santos
Despite big hype in the summer, Andrey Santos has played just twice for Nottingham Forest
There was a moment in pre-season where it felt as if Chelsea might break their typical ruthless loan streak for Andrey Santos.
He looked the part against Wrexham in pre-season, if not one of their better players, and Chelsea’s midfield was looking light at that point.
As it happened, they spent big on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, and Santos was shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he has played twice.
Touted as a wonderkid while at Vasco da Gama, Chelsea picked him up for £18million and he has since played for Brazil.
He is seen as one of his country’s brightest talents but it is a worry that he has been unable to break into Nottingham Forest’s team.
Chelsea will no doubt monitor things closely to see if his fortunes change under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Crystal Palace – Killian Phillips
Killian Phillips signed a new contract with Crystal Palace in the summer and has been learning at Wycombe
Killian Phillips, 21, is out on loan at Wycombe Wanderers in League One.
Truth be told, the likelihood of making the jump from third-tier loanee to Premier League first-teamer in the space of a year is a slim one, but it looks like Palace will give him time to grow.
He has been involved in their last couple of pre-seasons, even starting against Liverpool and Manchester United ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
An industrious midfielder, Phillips signed a new contract in the summer and has been a fixture for Wycombe.
He also spent last season getting minutes under his belt at Shrewsbury in League One but was unable to secure a Championship loan.
Everton – Stanley Mills
Stanley Mills, left, has four assists on loan at Oxford United and is the son of Danny Mills
Out on loan at Oxford United, Stanley Mills has some pedigree behind him – his dad is ex-Leeds and England star Danny Mills, while his brother is indoor athletics champion George Mills.
He has a long road ahead to reach the World Cup and Champions League as his father did, but Stanley is trying to put the building blocks in place in his first temporary move away from Everton.
The winger has four assists and a goal in 18 appearances at high-flying Oxford, who are jostling for automatic promotion to the Championship.
He has spent time on tour with Everton, playing against Arsenal in pre-season in 2022, and he justified a contract until 2025 with some impressive showings for the U21s last season.
Fulham – Jay Stansfield
Jay Stansfield scored a few at the start of the season with Birmingham but is in a dry patch
Fulham have a decent number of established top-flight professionals in their forward ranks, so the road is paved with obstacles for Jay Stansfield.
That said, he stands a chance of getting minutes. He was on the bench for Fulham’s season opener and has since gone on loan to Birmingham, scoring five goals in 20 games.
He showed that he could find the net on loan at Exeter in the division below last season.
Promising signs are there, but he needs to prove himself at Championship level.
It’s been a chalk and cheese season for Stansfield. He had a flying start, scoring three goals in the first four Championship games, but has since netted twice in 15 league appearances.
Liverpool – Calvin Ramsay
Calvin Ramsay has been dogged by injuries but Liverpool paid £6.5m to Aberdeen for him, a record for the Scottish side
Calvin Ramsay’s Liverpool future is as likely to be defined by the treatment table as it is his raw talent.
The 20-year-old right-back has only managed two outings on loan with Preston this term but is coming back into the fold after his devastating knee injury in February.
Liverpool paid Aberdeen £6.5m for him in the summer of 2022 for a reason.
There was little denying his quality in Scotland, where he was named the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Young Player of the Year after the 2021/22 season.
In November last year, he earned his first Scotland cap, and he managed a couple of cup appearances in the 2022/23 season for the Reds.
If he can find his feet at Preston, you can see Ramsay becoming a bit-part player for Jurgen Klopp’s team next season, making occasional appearances. Of course, the positional future of Trent Alexander-Arnold will also dictate his prospects at the club.
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Luton – Joe Taylor
Joe Taylor scored one of the penalties that sent Luton to the Premier League and now he is in good form at Colchester United
Wherever his career goes from now, Joe Taylor is already a hero at Luton.
After coming on as a 105th-minute substitute in the play-off final against Coventry City, Taylor scored what everybody thought was the winner 10 minutes later when he pounced on Jonathan Panzo’s mistake.
Sadly for Taylor, it was ruled out for handball by VAR – but that meant he was able to become a hero all over again when he scored Luton’s second goal in the penalty shoot-out.
Now he’s on loan at Colchester United in League Two and scoring goals for fun. Ten in 22 games, to be precise.
If Luton go down, that’s the sort of form that might convince them to give the 21-year-old a go in the Championship.
Manchester City – James McAtee
James McAtee is regarded as a top talent but Manchester City’s team is packed with quality
Trying to break into the Manchester City team is a path strewn with peril, even if you’re one of the country’s top young players. Just ask Cole Palmer.
James McAtee, dubbed the ‘Salford Silva’, is trying hard on loan at Sheffield United for the second season running to become the exception rather than the rule.
The City academy graduate, 21, scored nine goals from midfield to help fire Sheffield United to automatic promotion last season.
He scored a wonder goal to give the Blades a 1-0 win over Brentford earlier in the month and clearly has a touch of magic about him.
After that game, manager Chris Wilder said: ‘McAtee’s a top player and Pep will have been watching. Manchester City have their finger on the pulse with all their stats and are diligent in their work.’
A multi-dimensional midfielder, McAtee has the composure and passing range to break down teams in the way Guardiola likes but it is hard to see how the England youth international would consistently make a position his own in the City team.
He would have players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden to contend with, but Guardioa likes what he sees in McAtee and he could get a shot next season.
Manchester United – Alvaro Fernandez
Alvaro Fernandez could be a long-term solution to Manchester United’s left-back problem
Alvaro Fernandez, on loan at LaLiga strugglers Granada, is one of the brightest prospects at Old Trafford.
They signed him from Real Madrid in 2020 and accelerated through the ranks, winning U23s Player of the Year for the 2021/22 season.
The 20-year-old was mightily impressive on loan at Preston last season, operating as a left wing-back with style and solidity and playing 42 times in all competitions.
Even while Granada has spluttered in the Spanish top flight, he has shone, earning rave reviews from the Spanish press.
He could be a long-term answer to Manchester United’s left-back problems. Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have suffered injuries this season, meaning the club brought in Sergio Reguilon on loan.
Fernandez would have hoped for a chance but was farmed out to southern Spain.
Next year, he should be hoping for a chance after two seasons as a solid first-team professional, though the return of Brandon Williams, on loan at Ipswich, will mean a tussle between the two.
Newcastle United – Harrison Ashby
Newcastle bought Harrison Ashby from West Ham in January and he has had time on loan at Swansea
Newcastle poached Harrison Ashby from West Ham in January and sent him to Swansea for instruction in the dark arts of defending this season.
Ashby, 22, had three years in and around the West Ham first team and managed his Premier League debut in 2022, but couldn’t break into the upper echelons of David Moyes’ set-up.
He managed 13 appearances with the Swans and did well to win his place back in the team after losing it in September, but Newcastle recalled him for treatment after an apparent hamstring injury.
Mail Sport understands that Ashby’s loan with Swansea is still active.
He was part of the Magpies’ pre-season and scored in a goodbye game dedicated to Rangers legend Allan McGregor.
Newcastle are well-stocked at right-back so it is unclear what Ashby’s future with the club looks like, but seeing as they bought him this year, they must see potential in him.
Nottingham Forest – Richie Laryea
Richie Laryea, right, has been on loan at Vancouver Whitecaps but it is hard to predict the future of any Nottingham Forest players
Richie Laryea, who managed a handful of Championship games for the club in 2021/22, is on loan at Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS.
It comes after two separate loan spells at Toronto, though he’ll have to wait until February for any more MLS action due to the off-season.
In all honesty, picking a player out on loan who fits the criteria for this article was hard for Nottingham Forest.
Most of their youngsters haven’t been getting many minutes at their respective clubs.
Laryea is 28 and he’ll be under no illusions that winning a place in Forest’s team will be a battle when he returns.
Peering into the crystal ball with a club with as volatile a transfer policy as them is an unforgiving task.
Sheffield United – Oliver Arblaster
Oliver Arblaster, left, possesses a ‘brilliant footballing brain’ in the words of one coach
Midfielder Oliver Arblaster is out on loan at Port Vale in League One, where he has played 26 times.
He is highly thought of among Sheffield United’s coaching staff, with Jack Lester saying he has a ‘brilliant footballing brain’.
The 19-year-old made his England U20s debut in October.
Having earned a few outings during the Blades’ promotion campaign, a sustained run of games in League One could see him primed for first-team action at his parent club next season – especially if they drop down a division.
A horrific knee injury on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup against Middlesbrough, however, has left his immediate progress in doubt.
Tottenham – Dane Scarlett
Young England international Dane Scarlett has struggled for minutes at Ipswich Town
Dane Scarlett is earning his stripes at the top of the Championship with Ipswich Town and is highly rated.
In 2020, he became the youngest-ever player to appear for Tottenham when he featured against Ludogorets in the Europa League – until Alfie Devine came along, anyway.
Last year, he made important strides on loan at Portsmouth, notching six goals and two assists in 40 appearances.
Game time hasn’t been so easy to come by at Ipswich and he is mostly limited to cameos off the bench.
Now 19, in 2021 Jose Mourinho tipped him to one day be ‘phenomenal’ for England in the future and Harry Kane gifted him a signed shirt after winning the Premier League Golden Boot that year.
Youngsters such as Destiny Udogie have paved the way at Spurs, proving that going out on loan can be valuable to win trust at your parent club.
However, Scarlett will have to earn more of a foothold in the Ipswich team before he can start thinking about staking a claim to a spot in Tottenham’s.
West Ham – Andy Irving
Andy Irving, right, was signed by West Ham in an odd deal in the summer but has been performing well at Austria Klagenfurt
On deadline day, West Ham announced the shock signing of young midfielder Andy Irving from Austria Klagenfurt.
West Ham have loaned him back to the Austrian Bundesliga club for the season and so far, he has four goals and four assists in 16 appearances.
Irving has had an interesting career, turning out quite regularly for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership and Championship before moving to Germany’s third tier and then Austria.
Whether the one-time Scotland U21 international will ever play for West Ham is unclear.
The deal to sign and loan him back was part of establishing an affiliate programme with the club, whereby the Hammers can send players on loan for experience.
Whatever happens, the 23-year-old is posting some good numbers from midfield, so perhaps there is promise. Any Austrian football experts wish to clarify?
Wolves – Ki-Jana Hoever
Ki-Jana Hoever is rebuilding his reputation at Stoke after falling out of favour at Wolves
Okay, maybe we’re cheating ever so slightly here.
Ki-Jana Hoever has actually played 25 times for Wolves, but he didn’t make any appearances for them last season and went out on loan to Stoke.
He’s back at Stoke this term and playign consistently.
The 21-year-old was once of Liverpool’s academy and became the Reds’ youngest-ever FA Cup player against Wolves in 2019.
Able to play at centre-back or right-back he is a versatile option.
Bruno Lage launched a sensational tirade against him last year after he limped off injured during a loss to Crystal Palace, claiming the youngster had not prepared himself properly.
He said: ‘Injuries can happen, but this one happened because he’s not prepared. I don’t waste time with guys who don’t work hard.’
Perhaps Gary O’Neil will see things differently when he returns. Who knows?
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