Premier League clubs are often bursting with a surplus of talent, with loan moves the ideal win-win scenario to get vital minutes into the legs of a club’s top propsects.
This season several starlets have been sent on loan in a bid to gain valuable experience, thriving in new colours at clubs elsewhere in the Premier League, in the lower divisions, or abroad on the continent.
We’ve picked out six names who have impressed on loan this season, a collection of Premier League youngsters who have shone in new surroundings.
Sometimes a change of environment is all that’s needed to bring the best out of a young talent. Folarin Balogun struggled to make an impact on loan at Middlesbrough last season, but the Arsenal youngster has exploded in the colours of Reims this time around.
The 21-year-old has had a breakthrough season since swapping the Arsenal academy for Ligue 1, thriving as the main man in the Reims attack under the management of Englishman, Will Still.
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) February 12, 2023
Balogun has scored 18 league goals in Ligue 1 this season, becoming the youngest player to reach 17+ in their first season in France since 1956. His performances have led to suggestions he could be integrated into the Arsenal squad next season, but with Balogun keen to remain a first choice and Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him at the Emirates, a permanent move could await this summer.
AC Milan and RB Leipzig have been linked with a move for the forward, who is understood to be valued at around £40m following his exploits this season. The latter are understood to be considering Balogun as a replacement for Christopher Nkunku, who will join Chelsea this summer.
Balogun’s form has also sparked a debate over his international allegiance. The forward has scored seven goals in 13 appearances for England u21s, but is also eligible to represent the USA and Nigeria, each of who would be keen to secure his services.
Amad Diallo has benefitted from regular first-team football this season with the winger impressing on loan at Sunderland.
Manchester United signed Diallo from Atalanta for a fee which could reach £37m in 2020 despite just five senior appearances for the Italian side, with the Ivorian having since featured just nine times for the Red Devils. A loan to Rangers last season failed to work out as planned, but Diallo has developed impressively during a campaign in the Championship this time around.
Diallo has scored 12 league goals in 34 league appearances for Sunderland, form which has helped the Black Cats push for the play-offs.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) April 16, 2023
Diallo has proven a cut above in the Championship, with his brilliant close control, ability to beat opponents and end product having shone this season. Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray admits he would love to keep the winger beyond this season, but admits an extension is ‘unlikely’.
“The reality is he won’t be coming here unless they think he is going to be one hell of a player but he needs another year out, he enjoys Sunderland so he can go and keep playing for them,” Mowbary said.
“That would be the ideal scenario for us. Pretty unlikely but you never know. If they see him as someone they genuinely feel can play for their first team then they need to keep him on board.
“I would suggest they’ll try another level. You would think he’ll go to the Premier League or go back to Italy. My gut feeling for Amad is if he doesn’t stay at Manchester United he goes for big, big money to a top Spanish team really.
Levi Colwill’s outstanding campaign on loan at Huddersfield last season saw the Chelsea defender attract interest last summer, with Brighton providing the 20-year-old with a chance in the Premier League.
Colwill has made just ten league appearances this season due to fitness issues, but his performances are understood to have impressed Gareth Southgate who is considering calling up the centre-back to England’s senior squad.
Left-sided and confident in possession, Colwill’s ability to progress the ball through lines has alerted top clubs with Liverpool and Manchester City said to be monitoring his situation. The academy graduate is contracted until 2025, but will want assurances on his Chelsea future before committing to a new deal.
Chelsea have signed Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Benoit Badiashile as left-sided defensive options across the past two transfer windows, despite Colwill’s presence as one of the club’s most exciting academy products in recent seasons. Much could depend on who is appointed as permanent manager at Stamford Bridge.
James McAtee is leading Sheffield United’s push for promotion right now, with four goals in five games from the Manchester City loanee having moved the Blades within touching distance of a Premier League return.
McAtee has excelled for City’s Elite Development Squad in recent seasons and was named as the Premier League 2 Player of the Season in 2021/22 after scoring 18 goals and providing seven assists in 23 appearances.
A loan move to the Championship followed for the midfielder’s first taste of regular senior football and McAtee has handled the step up impressively with eight league goals this season.
"The Salford Silva has come alive!" 💫
A vital moment of magic from James McAtee. Tonight's winning goal. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/SpGbahLB8C
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) April 18, 2023
Paul Heckingbottom has been patient with the 20-year-old and has afforded McAtee just 16 league starts, but the creative midfielder has demonstrated his ability to change games in the final third.
McAtee has also helped Sheffield United to the FA Cup semi-finals, but will be unable to feature as the Blades take on parent club Manchester City at Wembley this weekend.
Jesurun Rak-Sakyi will hope to have done enough to earn a chance at Crystal Palace next season, following a fine season for the winger in League One.
Rak-Sakyi joined Palace from Chelsea’s academy set-up in 2021 and made his first-team debut as a substitute against his former side that August. Opportunities since have been limited, but a run of regular football at Charlton Athletic has brought the best from the youngster this season.
The 20-year-old has scored 13 league goals and laid on a further seven assists for the Addicks, building on a campaign that saw Rak-Sakyi finish as the joint-leading scorer in the Premier League 2 last season.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) April 10, 2023
With Wilfried Zaha out of contract this summer and expected to leave Crystal Palace, Rak-Sakyi will hope to be given a pre-season chance to impress at Selhurst Park. He could join Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise in a London-born frontline packed full of the fearlessness of youth and attacking invention.
Everton’s summer business saw Jarrad Branthwaite depart in search of opportunities after the Toffees signed the experienced Conor Coady and James Tarkowski to add to their centre-back options.
Branthwaite followed the increasingly popular route of heading abroad for minutes and signed for PSV Eindhoven on a season-long deal. The 20-year-old has made 30 appearances for PSV, scoring four goals, and has become a regular part of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side.
The Carlisle-born centre-back is 6ft 5in and naturally left-sided, attributes which have reportedly seen Manchester United, Liverpool and Roma send scouts to monitor his progress at PSV.
Jarrad Branthwaite vs Arsenal.
⏺️2 passes into the final third
⏺️4 clearances, 3 headed
⏺️100% ground duels won
⏺️100% aerial duels won
⏺️Clean sheet pic.twitter.com/Ls8Ec7hqaP
— Matt (@TacticallyMatt) October 27, 2022
Branthwaite admitted last month that he was flattered to be linked with such clubs, but said his focus was on success with PSV until the end of the season.
“I think when all of those clubs are interested and watching your games, it’s gonna be one of them where you take notice,” Branthwaite told the Mirror.
“But for me it’s just about playing the games. The first half of the season, I wasn’t playing as many as I wanted, but now I’m just fully focussed on doing that and performing the best I can.”