Loan Rangers Shouldn’t Be Derided

Everyone you ask it seems has very varied opinions on how the transfer window has panned out, whether we’ve signed good players that Paolo Di Canio seems reluctant to use, or we’ve signed a load of dross. For me the truth probably lies somewhere in between, but one thing that people seem universally on the side of is that loan moves are the devil’s work and a very bad thing for us.

Loan Rangers Shouldn’t Be Derided

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September 3rd, 2013

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I can’t get my head around that notion at all.

In recent years if you look at our better performers in that period you’d find a fair few loans among them. If you look at where all those players are now too, you’d see that there’s a reason why we only managed to get them on loan.

The likes of Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck were superb for us, and of course nearly every single one of us would have liked to sign them outright rather than on loan, but the fact they’re both regulars when fit for the reigning champions should tell you everything about the loan market – that it allows you to get a higher class of player than that which we can buy.

Some fans would do well to remember that.

Danny Rose would have been the dream signing this summer having spent last season on loan with us, but having now established himself into the left-back role at Tottenham Hotspur you’d have to say that from their position, letting him only go on loan was a wise move. Especially as it seems now Benoit Assou-Ekotto, a very good defender, is being forced out at the expense of Rose.

Look back slightly further and the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah and perhaps to a lesser extent Alan Hutton were all players we very much wanted to keep as fans, at the time.

Look back now and it might be a little different but the underlying theme is that at the time none of these players were within our reach for a long-term signing, and were certainly a cut above anything else we could have got.

All the above-mentioned players, including Rose, Evans et al were very good for us. Of course it would have been nice to keep them, but that’s the nature of the beast and a reflection of our standing within the game. We’re not – and probably won’t be until there’s some quantifiable success at the club – an attractive proposition.

We’re also not overly flush with money, especially in the age of Financial Fair Play and cloths having to be cut accordingly, to fork out for the millions it would have cost to acquire all the above talent.

We’ve since added the likes of Ondrej Celustka and Ki Sung-Yong on loan.

Whilst we’re ye to see our latest Korean addition in action, he is regarded as a very good player and while he’s not exactly flavour of the month with Michael Laudrup at Swansea City, there’s clearly a reason why they aren’t letting him go away permanently. You’d think it’s because for whatever reason they think there’s still something in him that they might need either later in the season or next season.

Celustka arrived as almost a complete unknown, but having been named in the team of the tournament for the 2011 under-21 tournament there’s a likelihood Trabzonspor want to see how he adapts to a higher level of football before deciding on his future.

Having looked very comfortable so far, the Turkish side could well be looking at commanding quite a decent fee for his services if we want to pursue a move.

And that’s simply how it works. It’s frustrating. That point cannot be argued, but we have acted in a similar fashion ourselves.

As much as he’s been derided since his return, Ji Dong-Won enjoyed a very fruitful and positive time on loan in Germany at Augsburg last season.

His eye-catching performances even caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund who tabled a very hefty bid for him this summer – more than double what we paid Chunnam Dragons for him – with the Champions League finalists’ pursuit ultimately unsuccessful on account of him being held in very high regard by Roberto De Fanti, Valentino Angeloni and Paolo Di Canio.

On a considerably lesser scale I’m sure the likes of AFC Wimbledon would have loved to sign their now former player of the year Billy Knott on a permanent deal, but with there still being a glimmer of hope he’ll do something for us.

So what we’ve had to take, we’ve also dished out.

It seems very much a Sunderland-specific criticism too; all this bashing of the loan market. I’ve not seen too many Liverpool fans complaining about the loan signing of Victor Moses, nor many Everton fans about Gerard Deulofeu.

Look back at West Bromwich Albion and Romelu Lukaku or, and whisper it… the Mags with Loic Remy. Even Milan and PSG had little qualms about taking an aging David Beckham into the squad.  It just is what it is.

Ultimately the loan market provides us and indeed everyone else, an opportunity to upgrade the team at minimal cost. It’s beneficial for everyone involved a lot of the time, and really shouldn’t be treated with such distain.

I can’t help but feel that the same people would kick up a fuss about us signing a substandard player on a permanent deal, when really that’s the only option from a logical and financial standpoint.

Can we all just move on now and accept that what we’ve got should make us a lot stronger for now and worry about the future another day? I certainly hope so.


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