Hit or miss? City's Premier League loan history
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Signing talented youngsters from the Premier League big boys is often a high risk but high reward strategy, which hasn’t always proved successful for Norwich City.
The Canaries have enjoyed some notable loan successes in the Championship, with Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp proving a revelation during this season’s title triumph.
Angus Gunn, Harrison Reed, Ryan Bertrand and Ched Evans all preceded Skipp as mostly successful loanees in the second tier, while Fraser Forster was also a major success during the 2009-10 season in League One.
Signing a youngster brings pitfalls though, particularly in the top tier, as parent clubs discover whether promising talent can flourish amid the demands of senior football.
Every transfer brings a degree of risk. Finding the correct player to fit into a squad isn’t an exact science and a youngster can find it particularly difficult when things don’t work out.
However, with City head coach Daniel Farke knowing Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel well from their time at Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaking of how much he enjoys Farke’s style of play, it seems access to top talent could be there if the Canaries opt to explore that option.
Sporting director Stuart Webber has already made clear Skipp is a top target, if Tottenham allow him out for another loan, but will need no reminding of Patrick Roberts’ disappointing loan spell during the top-flight relegation campaign of 2019-20.
Arsenal youngster Joe Willock has provided the latest reminder of a loan success in the Premier League, with six goals in 12 games to keep Newcastle clear of relegation.
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Manchester City midfielder Jack Harrison is enjoying an excellent season at Leeds, although it is his third year on loan at Elland Road, and last season Sheffield United had Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson as a key player.
The big boys produce so much talent that loans are needed for development, with Conor Gallagher (Chelsea) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) unable to keep West Brom up this season and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu (both Chelsea) suffering relegation with Fulham and Sheffield United respectively.
That’s before even diving into the EFL loanees from the big clubs, such as Chelsea defender Marc Guehi at Swansea or Manchester United midfielder Joe Garner at Nottingham Forest.
With Farke and Webber having a limited budget to work with after promotion as well, giving a player with the potential to be a top player his opportunity to shine could well be an option worth exploring.
With that in mind, here’s a look back on the hits and misses of City’s loan business in the Premier League – including, of course, England captain Harry Kane.
Signed just before his 20th birthday after a handful of appearances for Arsenal and scored twice in 28 matches. Reportedly dropped by Nigel Worthington for mimicking Peter Kay kicking the ball and shouting ‘have it’ at a moment in training that his manager didn’t approve of.
A knee injury in January kept him out for eight games and his return at half-time helped inspire a famous 2-0 win over Manchester United and an upturn in form before the 6-0 disaster at Fulham on the final day. Showed glimpses of what was to come with Blackburn and Spurs, winning seven England caps and making close to 200 Premier League appearances. HIT
Signed from Sheffield United by Spurs after impressing in the Championship and had good loan stints at Middlesbrough and Leicester in the second tier.
Kick-started his Premier League career as a 22-year-old with 32 appearances at right-back under Paul Lambert as City finished 12th, before going on to play regularly in the top flight for Spurs and Swansea. HIT
Ritchie De Laet
The defender joined from Manchester United as a 22-year-old with two Belgium caps to his name, after Championship loan stints at Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Preston.
Scored a header during his home debut, a 1-1 draw with Stoke, and started the first four matches of the season at centre-back before losing his place to Russell Martin. Results improved and he returned to United in January after seven appearances. MISS
Brought in from Lazio as competition for Marc Tierney after Adam Drury had been released, with plenty of top-level experience at Real Sociedad and Manchester City.
Made the left-back berth his with 35 appearances, as City finished 11th under Chris Hughton. Was signed permanently as a 28-year-old but lost his place to Martin Olsson. Made 53 appearances in total before being released in 2015. HIT
Bright loan stints at Leyton Orient and Millwall convinced Hughton to bring in the 19-year-old Tottenham talent but, inhibited by missing three months with a broken foot bone, the striker didn’t manage to score in five games - switching to Leicester and the Championship in January.
Who could have known, after that disappointing spell, that the timid youngster would go on to be a global superstar for Tottenham and England? INJURED
A left-field signing as Kane’s replacement, arriving from US side Sporting Kansas City after emerging as one of the top players in the MLS.
His enthusiasm and aerial ability made Kamara popular with Canaries fans, with a particularly memorable second game as he came off the bench and scored an equaliser as City scored two late goals to beat Everton 2-1 at Carrow Road – but that was the Sierra Leone international’s only goal in 11 games. MISS
Experienced Sweden international forward was brought in from Galatasaray as competition for Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Luciano Becchio and contributed three goals in 34 games.
The skilful former Bolton favourite - who was 32 when he signed - only started 16 league games and only scored only league goal, a late consolation during a 4-2 defeat at Southampton. MISS
The Argentina international managed four appearances after joining from Newcastle in January but it would later emerge that he had been battling health issues.
The speedy winger had a testicle removed due to a tumour a few months before joining Norwich but it wasn’t until after his loan spell that he deteriorated and was diagnosed with testicular cancer – eventually making an emotional return to action and scoring a crucial goal to help the Magpies avoid relegation in 2015. ILL HEALTH
The experienced former Everton and Nigeria centre-back was signed in January, at 33 years old, to bolster City’s defensive ranks but couldn’t prevent relegation.
Made eight appearances while on loan from Fenerbahce but wasn't used after Neil Adams had taken over for the final five games. MISS
Top scorer but with just seven goals, from 30 appearances, while on loan from Dinamo Kiev.
Democratic Republic of Congo international striker was a physical presence but made just 15 league starts under Alex Neil, with Cameron Jerome his chief competition. MISS
One-cap England international was brought in from West Ham and scored on his debut, during a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth, and was signed for around £3.5million despite a knee injury after seven encouraging performances.
Did return to fitness and made a further 14 appearances that season but relegation was followed by an injury nightmare. INJURED
Liverpool academy product already had Premier League loan experience at West Brom and made seven starts prior to knee problems which eventually forced a three-month absence.
Did make three further appearances but Ivo Pinto was signed in January and became the starting right-back option. INJURED
Has starred with 15 Premier League goals for Leeds this season but flopped at City when on loan from Chelsea as a 22-year-old, failing to score during seven appearances.
Had been named Championship Player of the Season while at Middlesbrough the previous year but an initial top-flight loan with Palace didn’t go well. He switched to Norwich in January but only started two games. MISS
Arrived from Sevilla amid plenty of hype, having previously been Marcelo Bielsa’s captain at Lille but failed to settle and returned to Spain after 13 appearances.
The defensive midfielder was inhibited by having to play at centre-back during City’s defensive injury crisis and couldn’t find his form, although had an excellent game during a 2-2 home draw with Arsenal.
Joined Leganes and couldn’t keep them in the Spanish top flight, now on loan at Angers and playing regularly in the French top tier. MISS
Brought in as Tim Krul’s chief competition and looked decent in his two cup appearances but cruel luck with a groin problem cut short his only league appearance after 22 minutes, during a 2-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
With Krul voted Player of the Season, the German never really had a chance to show what he could do. Reclaimed his place at Schalke this season but suffered Bundesliga relegation. UNPROVEN
The tricky winger was signed from Manchester City after a successful 18 months at Celtic was followed by an injury-hit 2017-18 with the Glasgow giants and a season on the fringes at Spanish side Girona.
Hit the post as City slumped to an embarrassing 1-0 loss at Crawley in the League Cup and was only used as a late substitute in three league games after that, so switched to Middlesbrough in January. Has been on loan at Boro and Derby this season. MISS
Arrived in January after an excellent Bundesliga season had been followed by falling out of favour at Hertha Berlin after a change of head coach.
Denied a debut goal as Bournemouth defender Steve Cook punched his shot off the line but Teemu Pukki scored the resulting penalty. Made 12 appearances in total, split by the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Has rediscovered his Bundesliga form with Koln, scoring seven goals this season. MISS