Premier League purse strings have been tightened in the January transfer window so far, with the division’s Profit and Sustainability rules having led to less business than usual.
Just a fraction of last winter’s record-breaking spending has been spent this time around, and clubs might need to get creative in the final week of the transfer market. Loans can often be a cost-efficient method of strengthening and the January transfer window has a history of successful short-term deals.
Here are five of the best January loan signings in Premier League history.
Christophe Dugarry (Birmingham)
Birmingham City were in need of inspiration during the 2002/03 season as the Blues battled against Premier League relegation.
Steve Bruce took a punt on Christophe Dugarry in the January transfer window, agreeing a loan deal to bring the World Cup winner to St Andrew’s. Dugarry had appeared on the wane during an underwhelming second spell at Bordeaux, but the experienced forward injected a touch of class into Birmingham’s survival fight.
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 8, 2017
After taking a run of games to settle, the Frenchman came alive during the run-in with five goals in four games, each ending in victories, as Birmingham powered away from the relegation places.
He signed a permanent deal in the summer, though struggled with injuries in his second season before leaving for Qatar SC. His role in the club’s escape has not been forgotten, however, with Dugarry a firm favourite in the Midlands.
Mikel Arteta (Everton)
Mikel Arteta’s career was at a crossroads when Everton came calling in January 2005. The Spanish midfielder has failed to make an impact after returning to his hometown club Real Sociedad from short spells with Paris Saint-Germain and Rangers.
Arteta came in as a replacement for the Real Madrid-bound Thomas Gravesen and replaced the Dane’s graft with craft in David Moyes’ midfield. His performances helped Everton to a top-four finish and Champions League qualification, before signing for the Toffees in a permanent £2m deal.
The midfielder’s first full season saw him win Everton’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards, before retaining the former award for the second successive campaign in 2006/07.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 15, 2021
Arteta spent six successful seasons on Merseyside and made 209 appearances for the club in all competitions, before signing for Arsenal in a £10m deal in 2011.
Robert Huth (Leicester)
Leicester sought solidity in their battle to beat the drop in 2014/15, recruiting out-of-favour Stoke centre-back Robert Huth on loan.
The German had struggled for game time at the Potters but made an instant impact at the heart of the Leicester backline. Huth had a crucial role as Leicester – who had been bottom of the Premier League table at Christmas – performed a miraculous late escape under Nigel Pearson, winning seven of their final nine games to survive.
Their sole defeat in that run came against Chelsea, with Huth absent from the side. The following season, after making the move permanent, Huth formed part of the Foxes team that created one of the sport’s greatest-ever shocks to win the Premier League title.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 13, 2021
Tomas Soucek (West Ham)
Tomas Soucek arrived in the Premier League as a relative unknown during the 2020 January transfer window.
The combative Czech proved to be a brilliant find from David Moyes and West Ham, with Soucek possessing all the attributes of a Moyes midfielder. Hard-working, rangy, tall and with goal-threat, he scored three goals in 13 games to persuade West Ham to spend £19m on a permanent deal.
Soucek’s first season with the East Londoners saw him score 10 goals in the Premier League, a return which earned the midfielder the West Ham United Player of the Year award.
He has since made 183 appearances for the Irons in all competitions and won the Europa Conference League with the club in 2023.
Jesse Lingard (West Ham)
West Ham repeated the trick with another loan capture the following year, bringing in Jesse Lingard from Manchester United.
Lingard had not made a league appearance for Manchester United in the first half of the season but hit the ground running with a brace on his West Ham debut against Aston Villa.
From there, the England international could not stop scoring. He scored nine times and provided five assists in 16 appearances for the Hammers, form that fired West Ham to a top-six finish and Europa League qualification.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 29, 2022
Despite the success of his loan move, the two clubs were unable to reach an agreement on a permanent transfer. Lingard’s career has since stalled, with the 31-year-old currently a free agent after leaving Nottingham Forest last summer.