Who have been the 5 worst loan transfers of the 2023/24 season?

Who have been the 5 worst loan transfers of the 2023/24 season?

14/05/24 17:00

I’m a sucker for the transfer window. Big money signings, bargain buys, and free transfers all draw me in. I love to just sit and watch all the coverage of the window, read headlines for the big signings, and I love to be surprised by shocking moves.

That being said, there’s one certain type of transfer that I love more than any other. I am obsessed with loans. Loans can kick a young player's career into action, loans can give a player down on their luck a new outlook on the game, loans can save a club from an almost certain relegation.

But it doesn’t always work out that way, sometimes a player will head out for their fresh start and find themselves in a worse position than before. So, as we gear up for the summer transfer window I ask, who were my top 5 worst loan transfers of the season?

Kalvin Phillips

You could’ve guessed, but I’m kicking off my list with the Yorkshire Pirlo.

A product of the championship, Kalvin Phillips established himself as a key player for Leeds United. He was worshipped at Elland Road, and was their key man in the Lilywhites’ Championship-winning campaign.

Phillips also made his mark at international level. His partnership with Declan Rice was vital to England’s Euro 2020 run, and Phillips was awarded the Three Lions player of the year award.

Following a big money move to Manchester City; the Yorkshireman found playing time hard to come by, competing with superstars like Rodri for playing time meant Phillips’ minutes were few and far between. After a year and a half, a new challenge presented itself and he headed to West Ham United on loan this January.

His time in East London has been unsuccessful, to put it lightly. He made just three starts for the Hammers, receiving a red card in one of them. Phillips just looked off the pace of the Premier League, was involved in errors leading to goals, ghosted through substitute appearances and even swore at West Ham fans outside the ground.

So, after a poor loan spell, the former star will be heading back to Manchester City this summer in a much worse position than before. Not only has he picked up an injury, its clear that his time at West Ham will have had a negative impact on his chances to be selected for the Euros this summer. It’s also safe to say he is definitely no closer to breaking into the City squad.

Armando Broja

Where do I start? I had huge hopes for this, and it just hasn’t happened.

Broja is a good striker, things just haven’t worked out for him the past few years. He had two great loans at Vitesse and Southampton, gaining plenty of experience in the Premier League during the latter. Unfortunately, before he could properly kick on at Chelsea, Broja suffered a horrific ACL tear that kept him out for the best part of a year.

The Albanian got back to fitness at the start of this season and did play a fair few games in the first half of the season for Chelsea, but he wasn’t scoring frequently. So when Fulham, haunted by the loss of Aleksandr Mitrovic, came calling for Broja in January I can imagine it was a relatively simple decision for the Cobham graduate.

After his short deadline-day trip across South-West London, Broja made the squad for Fulham’s clash with Burnley, fans were optimistic Broja’s arrival would be positive for both the club and the striker. It was certainly beneficial for Fulham, unfortunately the same can’t be said for Broja.

Out of nowhere, Rodrigo Muniz revealed himself to the world. Marco Silva’s experiment with the young Brazilian seemed to have failed. Muniz didn’t look like a Premier League player, but after dinking James Trafford and an emotional celebration, the ‘Putney Pele’ got a taste for goals. He’s scored 9 premier league goals since February and coincidentally has kept Armando Broja out of the Fulham line-up.

Broja has played less than 90 minutes in total for the Cottagers, he did make a good cameo at Wolves away, but I can’t imagine there will be any chance of the loan being made permanent and the Albanian will head back to Stamford Bridge this summer. In fact, the lack of playing time given to Broja means Fulham will pay Chelsea an inflated fee for the loan.

A true case of what if for Broja, but he’s still only 22 and I think he could thrive in the premier league if given the chances. These won’t come at Chelsea, but for his sake I hope another team takes a gamble on him.

Andrey Santos

This one is a weird one. Santos’ loan at Nottingham Forest has already been terminated, but it was this season so I’m counting it.

The 20-year-old signed for Chelsea from Vasco De Gama in Brazil, after helping them to promotion to the Serie A. He spent another year on loan at his former club, and although having less of a role to play, he clearly impressed Forest.

So at the start of this season Santos headed to The City Ground on a loan deal, I can admit I don’t watch Brazilian football, so I was excited to see what the youngster would have to offer in the Premier League.

I never got to find out. Santos made just one appearance for Forest in the premier league, where he played seven minutes. Then he disappeared off the face of the earth. He didn’t gain the experience he so desperately needed to, and truthfully I even forgot this happened.

So, short and sweet, complete failure. Clearly Forest felt that Santos wasn’t ready for Premier League football and it was definitely a step backward for the youngster.

Luckily, after his loan was terminated Santos found another suitor in a short term loan to Strasbourg. The midfielder has found some form and consistent minutes in Ligue 1, which will hopefully revive his hopes of making an impact at Stamford Bridge sometime soon.

Hannibal Mejbri

This deal had a lot of potential, unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out for any of the parties involved.

Hannibal is definitely an entertaining player. I saw a lot of him when he spent time on loan at Birmingham, and I appreciate his role on the pitch. He’s robust and not afraid to do the dirty work, but also technically gifted as he demonstrated with his goal for Manchester United against Brighton.

So when Sevilla came calling in January, Manchester United saw an opportunity. They offered a short-term loan deal with an option to purchase, as well as agreeing a buy-back clause. This deal covered all the right bases for United; should he be purchased, they make money on an academy graduate, and if he develops into an elite player they could bring him back to the club for a cut price.

However, Hannibal has not kicked on in Spain. He and Sevilla manager, Sanchez Flores, have not seen eye to eye and the Tunisian has only played a few times for the club.

Unfortunately for him, United, and Sevilla, Hannibal hasn’t shown what he can do and he’ll return to Old Trafford. With a change in management looking likely this summer, the midfielder will hope he can impress in pre-season or he may be shipped out yet again.

Giovanni Reyna

Another mention for Nottingham Forest here, their capture of Gio Reyna has not turned out like they would’ve hoped.

The 21-year-old came through the youth ranks at Borussia Dortmund and worked his way up to becoming an important player for the Bundesliga outfit. He impressed in his first few seasons and also established himself as a key player for the USMNT.

However, Reyna’s form has faltered this season and his playing time in Germany petered out. So, when an opportunity to play in the Premier League arose in January, Reyna packed his bags and headed to Nottingham for a short term loan.

Unfortunately, Reyna hasn’t quite returned to form as planned, and he’s been reduced to a bit-part role for Forest. He’s made nine appearances, just two being starts, and has produced one assist in his time there.

That being said, he’s shown his quality at times. Reyna had a decent performance in his first start for Forest as they took on Wolverhampton Wanderers and fans have questioned why he isn’t being given more chances.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to see any positives that have come of this loan move, Reyna has played a similar amount of minutes than he would’ve had he stayed in Germany. He hasn’t made any progress on ensuring he’ll play a key role in Copa America this summer. Despite his recently signed new deal at Dortmund, this loan won’t have put him any closer to a position in theri starting eleven.


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