Sweat your assets – playing the loan market
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Best Practice
Sweat your assets – playing the loan market
by Sebastian Blenstrup

Being a loan manager means looking after a club’s most vital investments: players. And Daniel Blades has devised a unique tool to help clubs make sure that the stock of their players rises.

It became clear from our analysis that there is such a thing as a good loan and a bad loan, and there’s a degree of predictability about it.
Daniel Blades
Lead Data Analyst, TransferRoom

Blades, TransferRoom’s Lead Data Analyst, will unveil the Virtual Loan Assistant at Virtual Deal Day and reveal some of the insights that it's huge database has generated.


Blades said: “Loan deals are becoming more important as clubs look to develop farm systems which help them develop promising players and grow their market value so they can play in their own first team one day or be sold for a profit.”


The current situation will make it more crucial than ever for loan managers to juggle their portfolio of playing assets effectively. Blades said:


“There’s an enormous amount of uncertainty around Financial Fair Play and, in the UK for instance, around what the market will look like after Brexit. Add to that the massive accounting restrictions from the pandemic, and there’s a lot of pressure for clubs to get their squads in order as well as the usual need to make the team competitive for next season. When you take away the ability to spend a lot of money, the obvious answer is loan deals.”

Tool of the trade – but how do you measure a loans success?


Blades, a mathematician by training, has drilled deep into the data to produce a unique database on loan deals. Using the Instat Index of performance and the 21st Club market value for each player, he has assessed the success of past and current loans, and provided a sound statistical base to help loan managers make informed decisions in the future.


The insights he will share on Virtual Deal Day include:

  • Why Brighton and Leicester are the top-rated clubs in England for successful outgoing loans;
  • What makes League One Shrewsbury a good place to send players on loan;
  • How Martin Odegaard’s loan spells worked out for him and Real Madrid;
  • How Harvey Barnes was propelled into Leicester’s first team;
  • What Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol and Borussia Monchengladbach are doing right.
    He said: “It became clear from our analysis that there is such a thing as a good loan and a bad loan, and there’s a degree of predictability about it.”


Blades will explain the key features of the Virtual Loan Assistant and how it can help clubs at all levels.


He said: “Even at the clubs with their own big analysis departments, the loan manager is often closer to the players and coaches than the analytics department. The tool will be a one-stop shop. Loan manager is a new role in football and the VLA enables them to get all their data in one place, process it and keep an eye on trends.”


Blades will also talk about future additions to the VLA, including a “recommend” function that will advise clubs which players to loan out and where to send them.


He said: “It should enable them to get a step ahead of the competition as they try to develop players who could play for their first team in the future or be sold for a profit in the future.”

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