Stoke City signing top’s RealSport’s 5 worst loan signings in last season’s Premier League

Loan transfers can offer clubs a cheaper to bring talent into their dressing room but which clubs lost out to poor deals?


There were 33 loan signings made by Premier League sides across the two transfer windows last season. 18 during the summer then another 15 in January. 

Of these deals, three players failed to see any action at all for the first team while others have had their deals turned permanent by their new club after sufficiently impressing.

Like any transfer, varying amounts of success was achieved by the clubs who dabbled in this market. With the benefit of hindsight and limiting choices to only one player per club, below are the 5 worst loan deals of last season.

  1. 5 Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion)


    While Daniel Sturridge may seem the obvious choice, his injury record was well known in advance of his move so that had to be a calculated risk on Alan Pardew’s part. Instead, a midfielder who arrived from Paris Saint-Germain pips him to this spot.

    Unai Emery had paid £34m for his services during the summer of 2016, however, he quickly fell out of favour in France making only 11 league appearances for the club that season. 

    Expected to be lacking match fitness, the Polish international made a reasonably bright start during their opening weekend game against Brighton. 

    A run of eight starts in the league followed but his form slowly deteriorated, ending with him being pulled at half time to be replaced by Claudio Yacob during their 4-0 defeat at home by Chelsea.

    There have been sporadic appearances in the first team since then, but Krychowiak has failed to impress on each occasion despite the high pedigree which brewed expectations in August. 

    Everything hints towards a lack of effort from the 28-year-old, a problem which seems to have haunted him since he moved on from Sevilla.

  2. 4 Eliaquim Mangala (Everton)

    (Photo credit - Голубович Дмитрий)

    Mangala has struggled to adapt to the Premier League since his reported £42m arrival at Manchester City in 2014. 

    This didn’t dissuade Sam Allardyce from rolling the dice on the French centre back in January, however.

    With Everton’s defensive crisis being a major factor towards their abysmal start to the season, Allardyce looked to strengthen their backline with a player who perfectly fits hits defensive prototype. 

    His Everton debut was marred by five goals being conceded away to Arsenal while the next game against Crystal Palace saw him limp off in the first half and into an operating theatre where he underwent knee surgery.

  3. 3 Islam Slimani (Newcastle United)

    Reuters/LEE SMITH

    Another player to have his six-month loan spell disrupted by injury was Slimani. Despite a niggling hamstring injury being carried through his medical at St James’ Park, he was fully expected to be fit within a handful of days to attempt to solve the Magpies attacking problems.

    Two months to the day after he put pen to paper, Slimani rose from the bench to make a 15-minute debut against Huddersfield. 

    Newcastle’s next game, however, was against Leicester City and so Slimani was again unable to make even the bench.

    A promising cameo against Arsenal was swiftly followed by a less promising cameo against Everton, his sloppiness in possession setting the wheels in motion for the only goal of the game as they were beaten by the Toffees.

    His fourth and final act for the Magpies was again from the bench but his only telling kick was aimed at Craig Dawson rather than the ball. 

    Receiving a retrospective three-match ban for violent conduct, Slimani clocked up a grand total of 129 minutes of action for the North-East club and saw Leicester lose a little more on their £28m investment. 

  4. 2 Renato Sanches (Swansea City)


    The sale of Gylfi Sigurðsson, a player who almost single-handedly kept the Swans in the Premier League, left a gaping void for a creative midfielder in South Wales. 

    That hole was to be filled by a player who was recently one of Europe’s hottest prospects but the fire now appears to have well and truly cooled.

    News of his arrival came late in the transfer window but brought a wave of excitement which renewed hopes for the Swans fans who had seen their side take a modest win, lose and draw from their opening games.

    Sanches didn’t live up to modest standards, nevermind those being fed by anticipation and hope. 

    While most 20-year-old footballers play with freedom of youth, Sanches looked to be carrying more weight on his shoulders than Hercules. 

    Without a trace of confidence in his footballing soul, his time in the Premier League will perhaps be best known for the way in which he played a beautiful cross-field pass to an unmarked advertising board. The rest of his time here is probably best forgotten though.

  5. 1 Jesé Rodriguez (Stoke City)

    (Photo credit - Dudek1337)

    If Sanches had one redeeming quality, it was a determination to make a positive change. The sentiment same can’t be levelled at Jesé. 

    Stoke have had a problem for some years with high-profile “stars” placing arrogance over work rate, of ill-discipline and individualism rotting the club out from its core. Jesé’s arrival took this to new depths for the Potters.

    It all got off to such a good start for the Spanish forward. A goal on the opening weekend helped dispatch the Gunners, but that was also to be his last goal for the club. 

    His season was also to be plagued by personal problems away from the game. 

    A series of health problems with his prematurely born son at the beginning of the season also led to him separating with his partner earlier this year. 

    The fact that he has been under-performing throughout his senior career suggests at a much deeper, underlying problem in the 25-year-olds mentality. 

    Whatever the reason behind Jesé’s motivation, or lack thereof, the effect it had at Stoke was one of destabilisation. 

    With others big signings such as Saido Berahino, Ibrahim Afellay, and Kevin Wimmer all flopping spectacularly this season, having Jesé’s influence around the club certainly wouldn’t help a team who were also struggling on the pitch.

    Who do you think was the worst loan signing in this past Premier League season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Andy Dickinson


Yes, I'm old enough to remember standing sections at football grounds,

Yes, the game's transformed almost unrecognisably since then


but I still love it despite all its faults.....