This summer has seen a number of high-profile players become available for loan deals with their clubs unable to shift their high wages off the books permanently.
As a result, loan moves are now becoming increasingly common between some of world football’s superclubs.
We’ve compiled a pretty handy XI from players sent out on loan this season, featuring a mixture of exciting prospects and star names.
4-4-2 | Alphonse Areola (loan, Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid); Achraf Hakimi (loan, Real Madrid to Borussia Dortmund), Chris Smalling (loan, Manchester United to AS Roma), William Saliba (loan, Arsenal to Saint-Etienne), Sergio Reguilon (loan, Real Madrid to Sevilla); Dani Ceballos (loan, Real Madrid to Arsenal), Giovani Lo Celso (loan, Real Betis to Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolo Barella (loan, Cagliari to Inter Milan), Ivan Perisic (loan, Inter Milan to Bayern Munich); Philippe Coutinho (loan, Barcelona to Inter Milan), Mauro Icardi (loan, Inter Milan to Paris St Germain)
On loan, Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid
In one of the bolder moves on deadline day of the European transfer window, PSG signed Real Madrid’s second-choice goalkeeper to be their No.1, and as part of the deal allowed their first-choice goalkeeper to move on loan to the Bernebeau, where he will presumably be No.2 behind Thibaut Courtois.
France international Areola was forced to compete for a place in PSG’s starting XI with Gianluigi Buffon last term, playing in 21 of their 38 Ligue 1 fixtures.
The 26-year-old started PSG’s first four matches of the season, only for his side to sign Sergio Rico on loan from Sevilla and Keylor Navas from Real Madrid.
Whether Areola can now usurp Courtois at Real remains to be seen, but he’s one hell of a back-up option for Zinedine Zidane if not.
On loan, Real Madrid to Borussia Dortmund
We were tempted to include Djibril Sidibe at right-back after the France international joined Everton from Monaco but have instead stumped for Hakimi, who is in the second season of a two-year loan deal at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid.
Hakimi impressed in his first season at Dortmund until a fractured metatarsal ended his season in March, and there were reports Real Madrid could recall the 20-year-old in the summer.
But the Morocco international has remained in Germany, and he has already appeared at both right and left-back for Dortmund in 2019-20, scoring off the bench in a 3-1 win at Cologne.
On loan, Manchester United to AS Roma
Somewhat unfairly maligned at Manchester United in recent years, Smalling has been one of the Red Devils’ most consistent defenders since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson (we know, we know), particularly standing out under Louis van Gaal.
The centre-back was clearly out of favour as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempts to revitalise his squad, leading to Smalling making an intriguing move to Roma.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” he said. “The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.”
On loan, Arsenal to Saint-Etienne
If we were looking for another experienced centre-back, we could have opted for Jeison Murillo, whose entire CV is a series of loan moves between illustrious clubs, featuring the likes of Inter, Valencia, Barcelona and now Sampdoria.
Instead, we’ve gone for a hot prospect deemed worthy of a £27million transfer fee by Arsenal, who were so desperate to wrap up a deal for the 18-year-old they agreed to loan him back to Saint-Etienne, despite needing cover at centre-back themselves.
Cristian Romero was another option, having rejoined Genoa on loan from Juventus, who paid €26million to secure the permanent signature of the 21-year-old Argentina youth international.
On loan, Real Madrid to Sevilla
Santiago Solari’s spell as Real Madrid boss may have been an unhappy one, but one of the few positives to come out during that period was the emergence of Reguilon at left-back.
The 22-year-old usurped Marcelo for a run of games under both Solari and Zinedine Zidane, only to see Real Madrid splash the cash on Ferland Mendy this summer.
Julen Lopetegui, who promoted Reguilon to the first team squad at Real Madrid, was happy to take the player on loan to Sevilla, although he is still clearly highly rated by Los Blancos, who refused to agree to an option to make the deal permanent at the end of 2019-20.
The White Army HD
On loan, Real Madrid to Arsenal
“I think he’s a good player, but I think they have other Ceballos – when I see Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Ceballos, they can play in different positions on the pitch but with very similar characteristics,” Jose Mourinho, unsurprisingly underwhelmed, said of Arsenal’s loan signing from Real Madrid.
As we enter the first international break of the season, it has taken Ceballos all of 197 minutes of Premier League football to dispel that notion, becoming a firm favourite among Arsenal supporters while Henrikh Mkhitaryan packs his bags to join Roma on loan and Mesut Ozil awaits his first appearances of the season.
GIOVANI LO CELSO
On loan, Real Betis to Tottenham Hotspur
Another man from La Liga on loan in north London, Spurs will make Lo Celso a permanent signing at the end of the season but for now he’s technically on loan with Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Pochettino has been patient with the 23-year-old to date, using the midfielder sparingly from the bench rather than throwing him in the deep end of English football.
“The fans will know him soon,” Erik Lamela, Lo Celso’s team-mate for club and country, said after Spurs’ win over Aston Villa. “He’s very technical, an amazing left foot and he runs a lot. He will be good for the team.”
On loan, Cagliari to Inter Milan
Radja Nainggolan was an option for the third central midfield berth, having left Inter to return to Cagliari, but we’ve instead gone for the man who has moved in the opposite direction to effectively replace the Belgian at the San Siro.
Whereas Nainggolan is coming towards the end of his career, Barella, 22, is only just getting started, yet he already has over 100 Serie A appearances to his name, plus two goals in seven Italy caps.
We also feel obliged to mention that Inter’s press release to announce the signing described Barella as “a freshly opened bottle of Champagne”. We don’t know what that means.
On loan, Inter Milan to Bayern Munich
On the wings we could have gone for any of Andre Schurrle, Harry Wilson and Martin Odegaard, but the two spots have gone to two high-profile names regularly linked with Premier League moves.
Perisic takes up one flank, having moved to Bayern Munich from Inter, despite often been mooted for a move to Manchester United or Arsenal.
He has already hit the ground running back in Bundesliga, providing a goal and assist on his first start in a 6-1 win against Mainz.
Like Perisic, Coutinho’s perennially imminent move to Manchester United failed to materialise and he instead joined Bayern.
We don’t really know why it went so bad at Barcelona, and it’s all a bit sad, but that just means Bayern have a potentially superb footballer on their books.
We initially had Alexis Sanchez in the centre-forward role, but after Icardi’s deadline day move to PSG, Sanchez can’t even make this team now, which makes us feel quite bad.
But it’s hard to argue against Icardi’s inclusion given he has scored 115 goals in all competitions for Inter over the past five seasons, despite the constant soap opera that follows him off-field.
PSG have an option to sign the striker permanently at the end of the season for £59million. With Neymar hanging around for at least another six months, the French capital should be pretty interesting in 2019-20.