Eight players who were immediately loaned back after completing Premier League move


Jack Clarke has signed for Tottenham Hotspur after impressing at Leeds in his breakthrough season under Marcelo Bielsa, and it’s with the Yorkshire club that he will play his football next season having been immediately loaned back.

Mauricio Pochettino seldom loans players out whom he plans to embed into his first team. The development of Juan Foyth and Harry Winks suggests that he prefers to develop youngsters in an environment where their development can be closely monitored.

However, considering Clarke’s age and Pochettino’s admiration for Bielsa’s coaching ability, it’s perhaps no surprise that the new recruit will remain in Yorkshire until 2020.

With Clarke set to stay in Leeds for another season before joining Spurs, Football FanCast take a look at ten players who have also immediately returned to the selling club on loan after joining a Premier League side.

Dele Alli

It’s easy to forget that Alli arrived from MK Dons having impressed in the lower leagues.

Pochettino brought him to White Hart Lane in January 2015, but agreed to loan him back to the Dons with the League One outfit in pursuit of promotion, which the prodigious teenager helped them to clinch by scoring 16 goals and providing 9 assists in a glowing individual campaign.

It took a little longer to see him in a Tottenham shirt, but it was worth the wait as Alli had an instant impact upon arrival, scoring 10 goals on his maiden Premier League campaign. 

He has since become a first-team regular and an integral cog in Pochettino’s machine, even if his mercurial presence has made him something of a divisive figure in the British media. 

Ante Palaversa

Ante Palaversa joined Manchester City in January 2019 and was immediately loaned back to Hajduk Split for eighteen months, although there is an option for Pep Guardiola to recall him in January.

While most fans won’t know much about the young Croatian midfielder, he’s been impressing in his domestic league and at 19 years of age has plenty of time to improve.

Palaversa is physically imposing and gets involved in the defensive side of the game but he’s also composed and exciting on the ball, something that must have caught the eye of City’s recruitment team given Guardiola’s revered style. 

Check out FFC’s Scout Report on Palaversa.

Wilfried Zaha

Zaha arrived at Old Trafford with plenty of promise and potential, having impressed Sir Alex Ferguson and the Manchester United hierarchy during his Crystal Palace days.

He was loaned back to help the south London outfit secure promotion via the play-offs and joined up with the United squad after Sir Alex’s departure.

He was frozen out under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal but the pairing clearly missed an opportunity when it was staring them in the face, with Zaha now commanding a price-tag of £80m amid reported interest from Arsenal. 

With 118 goal contributions to his name in 323 Palace appearances, it’s no surprise to see such a gargantuan price-tag slapped on his head.

Christian Pulisic

Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic in action with Monaco's Radamel Falcao

It didn’t take long for Pulisic to establish himself as Dortmund’s golden boy after he completed the switch from Pennsylvania Classics in 2015. 

The immediacy of his impact was striking, as he became the youngest ever foreign player to score in the Bundesliga in April 2016 before becoming Dortmund’s youngest ever star to feature in the Champions League.

Jadon Sancho seemed to take the limelight away from the wonderkid last season, but that did not deter Chelsea’s interest and they agreed to sign the American sensation for £58m in January in a deal that saw him immediately return to Signal Iduna Park.

Whether the 20-year-old can justify the hype during his spell in west London is a Premier League subplot worth monitoring with laser-eyed intrigue.

Kurt Zouma

Zouma was very highly rated at St Etienne before his move to Chelsea, so much so that his own manager, Christophe Galtier, wouldn’t allow him to have the name on the back of his shirt in a bid to keep his name out of the spotlight.

But the rising star didn’t remain incognito for too long and eventually interest from afar inevitably arose.

He earned a big move to the Premier League on deadline day in January 2014, with the French outfit keeping him on loan until the end of the season.

His rise has not been as meteoric as one might have expected given France manager Didier Deschamps once viewed him as a future partner for Raphael Varane, but his progress at Everton last season hints that he is beginning to realise his massive potential.

Chelsea’s questionable policy over youth development has almost certainly had a part to play in Zouma’s delayed progress.

Frederic Guilbert

Like Palaversa, Guilbert is another name that perhaps won’t be known to the regular football fan, but keep your eyes peeled for him in the Premier League next season.

Aston Villa secured his services in January this year for a fee of around £4.4m before loaning him back to Caen for the remainder of the season.

The Frenchman can play at both right-back and centre-back, but predominantly figures as a right-sided player who can get up the pitch and provide width going forward.

Defensively Guilbert is incredibly solid, averaging at 2.9 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game in the 2018/19 campaign, per Whoscored.

With Alan Hutton leaving the club as a free agent this summer, Guilbert should be an important addition to the squad.

Marko Grujic

The 6 ft 3 midfielder showed a lot of promise in his days at Red Star Belgrade, convincing Liverpool to sign him for £5.1m in January 2016.

Red Star were reaped the rewards of his quality for a little while longer, though, as he immediately returned to Serbia on loan until the end of the season.

But the move hasn’t worked out and he has spent the majority of his time away from the club on loan, most notably at Hertha Berlin where he has made a profound impression on head coach Pal Dardai, who claimed the Serbia international is “by far the best midfielder I’ve seen in my time at the club.”

That’s about as esteemed as praise gets from someone who has been at Hertha for more than 20 years.

Given how highly-rated the all-action midfielder is at the Olympiastadion, it’s no surprise he has returned to the Bundesliga on another season-long loan deal.

Kyle Walker

In 2009 Kyle Walker joined Tottenham Hotspur along with Kyle Naughton from Sheffield United, both full-backs with high ceilings at the time.

Naughton joined Spurs immediately but Walker returned to Bramall Lane on loan, and history suggests that an extra year in Yorkshire served him well.

The now Manchester City man blossomed into a Premier League star thereafter, establishing a huge reputation at Spurs before moving to the Etihad Stadium, where he has since won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two Carabao Cups.

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