The Ins and Outs: short-term success stories
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TransferRoom Stories

Best Practice
The Ins and Outs: short-term success stories
by Jonathan Rest

English clubs come out on top as TransferRoom analyses the best loan deals of the 2020-21 season, and compiles a 5 Star Top 10.

As the transfer market has been heavily affected by the global pandemic, the loan market has become a good alternative more than ever to secure the investments of clubs. In Cercle Brugge we are committed to perform while developing talent and we have found in the loan market the right balance.
Carlos Avina
Technical Director, Cercle Brugge

Number crunchers

 

Mapping out the development path of a young player is no easy task. When it comes to planning loan placements, it’s a constant juggling act: Who? What? Where? When?

 

With the summer transfer window well into action and short-term transfers expected to be plentiful in a financially distressed market, TransferRoom has crunched the data from the 2020-21 season to reveal the clubs that were most successful in loaning players in and out.

 

To help clubs navigate the loan market TransferRoom has developed its own rating system out of five to evaluate the best loaner and loanee clubs, accessible through the Virtual Loan Assistant.

 

For the 2020-21 season, TransferRoom’s analysts assessed a data set of around 3,000 loan spells, focused on players under 24 years of age when their loan started and little or no upfront fee - essentially characterised as loans for the purposes of player development.

 

Factored in are minutes played, days spent on loan, sample size and percentage of available minutes played, weighted so that the star ratings are predictive of future success in the loan market.

 

Parental guidance

 

Unsurprisingly English clubs dominate the ratings - they have large squads and loan out a lot of players, many of whom tend to be of a relatively high standard so get lots of game time.

 

In 2020-21, four English clubs made TransferRoom’s top 10 for loaning out: Chelsea, Brighton and Everton in the Premier League and Nottingham Forest in the Championship.

 

Chelsea topped the table overall, with its 18 loan players averaging 2,058 minutes played. After Brighton (15), Monaco were next with 11 players loaned out, albeit they averaged fewer minutes (1,576).

 

Manchester City actually had the most young players out on loan, an astonishing 26, but with 1,453 minutes played on average, it was only good enough for 13th place in TransferRoom’s listings.

 

German clubs Mainz 05 and Augsburg also made the top 10, as did Sevilla in Spain, Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands and FC Zurich in Switzerland.

TransferRoom’s Top 10 loaning out clubs of 2020-21 (all 5 Star rating)


League


Country


Parent Club


Loans


Avg mins played


Avg play time


Premier League


England

Chelsea

18


2058

51%

Bundesliga


Germany

1.FSV Mainz 05

6

2034

65%


Primera División


Spain


Sevilla FC


6


1930


62%


Championship


England


Nottingham Forest


10


1849


53%


Bundesliga


Germany


FC Augsburg


7


1841


61%


Premier League


England


Brighton


15


1748


49%


Eredivisie


Netherlands


Fortuna Sittard


8


1639


51%


Super League


Switzerland


FC Zürich


5


1593


57%


Ligue 1


France


AS Monaco


11


1576


60%


Premier League


England


Everton FC


9


1543


49%

 

Five Star Loanees

 

Using the same calculation, TransferRoom has uncovered the most pro­duc­tive des­ti­na­tions for clubs’ most promis­ing ta­lents.

 

Plymouth, of League One, took in six players that averaged 2,151 minutes. They will be joined in England’s third-tier in 2021-22 by Cheltenham Town, whose five players on loan helped the club to promotion.

 

Another successful club in League One is AFC Wimbledon, whose five players averaged just under 2,000 minutes, with an average playing time of 62%, the second highest in the TransferRoom top 10.

 

AFC Wimbledon will continue to tap the loan market in 2021-22 as they bid to push up the table and away from the annual threat of relegation.

 

“We hope to increase our attractiveness as a loan option as the whole club is geared towards being a developmental club, both for our own players and our loan partners,” Will Daniels, Recruitment and Analysis Manager, ​AFC Wimbledon, tells TransferRoom. “Since the start of this year, when I came in as Recruitment Manager and Mark Robinson as Head Coach, we have focused ourselves on breaking the cycle of attempted survival in League One and a braver push towards short-term growth in line with long-term sustainable progression.”

 

In the short-term, this has meant AFC Wimbledon “getting excellent talent at cheap prices” on loan, while in the long term the club is “targeting budget growth by allowing exposure for our excellent young talent.”

 

Daniels continues: “This detailed long-term approach will allow for more successful loans, greater happiness of the parent club and stronger long-term relationships. We fully understand that for a loan to be a success, both clubs need to be happy and open, honest and trustworthy discussions need to be had.”

 

The TransferRoom data uncovered Cercle Brugge in Belgium as being the club where loan players averaged the most playing time: its six players averaged 1,940 minutes and 72% of possible minutes played.

 

Carlos Avina, Technical Director of Cercle Brugge, told TransferRoom that football’s financial landscape over the past 18 months had partly influenced the club’s strategy.

 

He said: “As the transfer market has been heavily affected by the global pandemic, the loan market has become a good alternative more than ever to secure the investments of clubs. In Cercle Brugge we are committed to perform while developing talent and we have found in the loan market the right balance.”

TransferRoom’s Top 10 loaning in clubs of 2020-21 (all 5 Star rating)


League

 

Country


Loanee club


Loans


Avg mins played


Avg play time


League One

 

England


Plymouth Argyle


6


2151


51%


League Two

 

England


Cheltenham Town


5


2107


57%


Segunda Division

 

Spain


UD Almería


7


2065


47%


League One

 

England


AFC Wimbledon


5


1991


62%


Serie C

 

Italy


Carrarese Calcio 1908


7


1985


55%


League One

 

England


Lincoln City


7


1949


58%


Pro League

 

Belgium


Cercle Brugge


6


1940


72%


Pro League

 

Belgium


Royal Excel Mouscron


5


1896


61%


Segunda Division

 

Spain


CD Mirandés


13


1832


50%


Segunda Division

 

Spain


Girona FC


6


1820


41%

 

Individual highlights

 

One of Cercle Brugge’s star players in 2020-21 was Ike Ugbo (pictured), the striker on loan from Chelsea, who scored 16 goals in 2,900 minutes across 33 matches.

 

Indeed Ugbo’s stats make him one of TransferRoom’s top 10 young loan performers of last season, joining the likes of: Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who played 52 games for Swansea City as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League; Chelsea defender Marc Guehi, who made 45 appearances, also for Swansea; Lukas Nmecha, who struck 21 goals in 41 games on loan at Anderlecht from Manchester City; and Johannes Eggestein, who scored 20 goals in 39 games for LASK in Austria, on loan from Werder Bremen.

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