Around this time last year I wrote about how City were almost unparalleled in how they continually messed up loan deals. The club seemed to have no cohesive strategy and ended up with arrangements which failed young players, old players, and allowed other clubs to take advantage of us.
So, a year has passed since then but have City improved at all?
Yes! City have definitely improved at loaning players out. Even if some of those loans haven’t worked out ideally there is clearly strategic thought behind them which bodes very well for the future. Here are some examples to illustrate…
Some Bad Loans
John Guidetti –
Ahh, John Guidetti. Didn’t we all have such high hopes for him last summer? Guidetti had returned from a potentially career ending leg virus which I still don’t entirely understand, he scored a few for the EDS in training, and produced some top notch Youtube content over the Christmas period.
Now was the time! Send him out on loan to one of a list of Premier League clubs gagging for a young, hungry striker who as a teenager had spent some time terrifying defenders and setting goal scoring records in the Dutch league. He is clearly a step above the reserve teams but a step below Premier League level. Send him to a bottom half club who needed a starting striker to help revive a flagging season.
We sent him to Mark Hughes’ Stoke City Football Club! Yay! That went well, didn’t it? He got almost no game time and scored no goals. He won a penalty once but didn’t get to take it and then got substituted 11 minutes later because Jon Walters got sent off.
A terrible loan spell no doubt, but it still shows improvement over last year. The club were proactive, the player was eager. The idea behind sending Guidetti elsewhere was sound. Who knows, if he’d had a breakout season then maybe he might be in contention for the first team squad this year. Maybe next time.
Scott Sinclair –
Another loan which was terrible but actually came from a good, heartfelt place. Being honest, Sinclair would not have played a single game for City this season. We knew it, he knew it. This is an example of getting a relatively young, but unwanted, squad player out of the dressing room for a year, hopefully getting him a decent amount of playing time.
In an ideal world he would have improved enough to either fight for his place in the squad (unlikely) or (more likely) rebuild the resale value which was decimated last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as he was shown to have regressed so far that West Brom couldn’t find a use for him at all. Newspapers started referring to him as ‘former footballer Scott Sinclair’.
It was such a great plan in theory!
Poor Scott. Maybe he’ll get a summer/permanent job at a William Hill or something.
Some Good Loans…
Gareth Barry –
Let’s not beat around the bush: Seeing Gareth Barry go out on loan was heart breaking. We loved him. We didn’t deserve him. He went to Everton on loan and showed his class to everyone. The unbelievers were converted. Fans not from the Etihad started raving about him. Talk of a recall to the England squad didn’t seem out of the realms of possibility.
This was great for Gareth Barry and great for the club. For Barry it was another chance to show how good he really was at a very high level instead of being parked on City’s bench or sold gradually sliding down the divisions. He is a man of dignity and respect who doesn’t deserve such a fate.
He probably won’t be with the club next season but will go with the good wishes of all City fans.
Emyr Huws –
Much like Guidetti, Huws is one of those who has probably progressed beyond the reserves but is perhaps not ready for a full Manchester City Premier League season yet, even though he made his City debut in the Cup earlier this season.
He went to Birmingham on loan and impressed absolutely everyone. Similarly to Karim Rekik at PSV Huws impressed, won lots of man of the match awards and got called up to his national team. Success! Birmingham stayed up on the last day of the season due in no small part to the efforts of our young midfielder.
He also scored two ridiculous goals.
This was a good loan for the Welshman and for the club who have a promising young footballer who plays in a key position on the pitch and is improving all the time. How about a further loan next year in the Premier League?
Overall, just like in every other area in the club, City have improved their approach in the loan market for the benefit of the players and the club. Youth prospects aren’t being allowed to stagnate, older players aren’t being allowed to idle. Long may it continue.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter