Loan Watch: Performances and Future Prospects

With the League title sealed, and tabloids already working overtime, drumming up names and linking the club with a whole lot of players, it’s time we take a look inward and see the good we already have at the moment. I am of course talking about the players loaned out this season. How did they do? And what are their chances in the first team setup next season? Read on for a run down on some of the more promising players out on loan…

Phil Bardsley:

Was loaned out to Rangers at the start of the season. However things didn’t work out too well between him and Paul le Guen and so he was loaned out to Aston Villa. Under the guidance of Martin O’Neill, things have turned out for the better, as he’s got to play fairly regularly. He’s played 13 games and also has an assist to his name. Apparently O’Neill is quite impressed with him and wants to make his move to Villa permanent.
Our Say: Given United’s need for the long term replacement of Neville at right back, the club might not want to let him go for sure, although another season out on loan beckons, given Wes Brown’s versatility to fill that position.

Ben Foster:

Having helped Watford in their promotion bid last season, he was once again excellent for the Hornets and stood out, being the one player blameless in their relegation back to the Championship. Playing behind a defence that is as shite as Fat Frank in a chess game, his composure, agility, awareness and distribution have drawn admirers from all corners, given his young age.
Our Say: He is one loanee that can easily walk into the first team at the moment. If EVDS steps down that is. One hopes, he’s really given a good run next season. Due respect to EVDS, but he isn’t getting any younger, and it would be great to have a young keeper like Foster to rival that of Chelsea’s Cech. Could solve our long term ‘keeper conundrum since Schmeichel, once and for all.

Gerard Pique:

A product of the Barcelona youth factory, Pique’s season with Zaragoza has shaped up quite well, playing 19 games for them. And this is a team that’s currently 5th in the La Liga table. No mean feat for a 20 year old.
Our Say: With Rio and Vidic forging a formidable defensive partnership at the centre, and Wes Brown being a good back up, it would be a tough call for Pique and the manager. He might have to choose between staying on at Zaragoza for another season, or staying content warming the bench at United, for quite some time. As much as we would like to see him play for United next season, one might wonder if his cause would be best served here at least for the next season. Quite possibly, another season on loan.

Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson:

Both players out on loan had a successful time helping Sunderland clinch the Championship title on their way back to the Premiership. Both were members of an outstanding team that went on a brilliant run in 2007, and having a good defence was a key factor in maintaining that run. They formed two members of the back four. Clearly, signs of promise.
Our Say: Roy Keane might be tempted to keep them for another season, and it sure looks like Sir Alex might oblige.

Giuseppe Rossi:

Well what do we say about him? The worst move of his career might have been Newcastle. A glance at statistics on his performances for Parma (15 starts and 7 goals) might better explain Roeder’s underutilization. And it’s not as if Newcastle were playing too well without him anyway.
Our Say: He should be brought back to the first team and given chances next season, or he might get tired of waiting in the wings for so long. In fact even in this season (with injuries to Saha) he might have got a fairly decent run. Definitely more than what Roeder gave him.

Lee Martin:

This winger had a good start with Royal Antwerp in the early part of 2006 and proved quite popular with fans there. Things didn’t go smoothly with Rangers and he is currently on loan at Stoke City, where he hasn’t been spectacular.
Our Say: Maybe another season out on loan wont hurt. Maybe needs to show more to assert his place among the vast array of attackers currently present, with a new winger (Nani or Ribery or whoever) likely to be added to the team in the summer. But looks like he might be sold if there is not considerable improvement. (Hey, David Jones was sold, of all the people)


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