5 Best Loan Transfers of 2013
Here are the five best European loan transfers of 2013.
Only loans that started from the 2013 January transfer window or the past summer transfer window will be eligible for this list.
Don't hesitate to comment below with examples of loans you believe should be on this list.
Adrien Rabiot (Toulouse; Loaned From Paris Saint-Germain): First-team football under Alain Casanova at Toulouse has prepped Rabiot to break into Laurent Blanc's PSG first XI this season. Rabiot has made six Ligue 1 starts thus far.
Heurelho Gomes (Hoffenheim; Loaned From Tottenham Hotspur): Looked like vintage Gomes as he auditioned for potential suitors with superb reflex saves. Loan spell cut short due to a broken hand.
Ji Dong-Won (Augsburg; Loaned From Sunderland): Temporarily escaped his Stadium of Light nightmare by joining compatriot Ja-Cheol Koo at minnows Augsburg. Ji scored five league goals, including a match-winning brace against Eintracht Frankfurt, which contributed to Augsburg staying in the Bundesliga.
Suso (Almeria; Loaned From Liverpool): He has been evading tackles from opposing defenders and has looked class when creating shots for his teammates. Currently, he has five assists in La Liga.
Vitorino Antunes (Malaga; Loaned From Pacos Ferreira): He's an ideal replacement for Nacho Monreal, who departed for Arsenal. Antunes, a tough-minded defender with accurate crossing, had his Malaga loan spell extended into a permanent deal.
5. Romelu Lukaku (Everton; Loaned from Chelsea)
Romelu Lukaku scored 17 Premier League goals on loan at West Bromwich Albion, so you would have thought he would have been Chelsea's No. 9 this season.
However, he handed in a verbal transfer request after missing a penalty in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, prompting the loan to Everton, per Dominic Fifield at The Guardian.
Lukaku has since become Everton's leading centre-forward.
His outspokenness about his situation at Chelsea has led to rumours of a rift between him and Blues manager Jose Mourinho, which Lukaku denies.
"In some interviews my words were twisted, but the truth is that he [Mourinho] accepted to let me leave," Lukaku said, per Voetbal International (h/t Sky Sports). "He did understand what I wanted [first-team football]. That's what I really appreciate in him. ... He's building the foundations of an unbeatable machine again. We didn't have problems."
4. Christoph Kramer (Gladbach; Loaned from Bayer Leverkusen)
When you switch to a Borussia Monchengladbach game, you're either seeing if Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the mooted successor to Victor Valdes at Barcelona (per Marca), is the real deal or you're planning to enjoy the attacking combination play of Max Kruse and Raffael.
But Christoph Kramer, on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, is the commanding midfielder who ensures Kruse and Raffael receive ample opportunities to run at opposing defences.
Kramer averages 62.9 passes per league game and has a pass completion percentage of 90.9.
He wins back possession 5.6 times per game, and he can surge past opposing defenders.
He is a complete midfielder who is on course to become a household name.
3. Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hamburg; Loaned from Hertha Berlin)
Pierre-Michel Lasogga is two goals behind Bundesliga's joint top scorers, Hertha Berlin's Adrian Ramos and Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski (11).
Lasogga has revived his career under Hamburg manager Bert van Marwijk, the former Dutch manager who took the Netherlands to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.
On the topic of World Cup, if Lasogga continues his scoring, he will surely make Joachim Low's final German squad for the 2014 World Cup.
"Playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup is definitely a big ambition of mine," Lasogga said, per Berliner Zeitung (h/t Sky Sports). "Sometimes life turns fast in football. You never know."
2. Lucas Piazon (Vitesse; Loaned from Chelsea)
Chelsea have six players on loan at Vitesse (Christian Atsu, Cristian Cuevas, Gael Kakuta, Lucas Piazon, Patrick van Aanholt and Sam Hutchinson), and three are regular starters under Vitesse manager Peter Bosz (Atsu, Piazon and van Aanholt).
Who is the star of the team?
Piazon, who leads Vitesse in goals (11), assists (eight) and shots created for teammates per game (3.1).
He has predominantly started as the left forward in a 4-3-3, but he did play in a false nine role during the 2-2 draw against Heracles.
1. Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund; Loaned from Real Madrid)
Unloved by Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and Brendan Rodgers during an unsuccessful loan spell at Liverpool, Nuri Sahin decided to return to Jurgen Klopp after abandoning Borussia Dortmund for Real.
Klopp didn't automatically insert Sahin back into the starting XI. It wasn't until a 5-1 win over Freiburg in which he scored twice that he became an integral part of the team again.
Sahin needs to cut down on the turnovers (20.7 percent chance of giving away the ball when he passes), which is why the most striking facet of Sahin's game at Dortmund isn't his passing.
It is his ball-winning prowess.
He has made 64 tackles and intercepted 40 passes in 17 league games this season.