A brilliant Xl of players loaned out by Premier League clubs in January

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Manchester United's Donny van de Beek during their draw against Young Boys at Old Trafford, Manchester, December 2021.

The January transfer window in 2022 was the most lively for years, with a number of clubs desperately chasing signings to rescue their ailing seasons. 

Tottenham experienced more rejections than your average male on Tinder before signing Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski, Everton made two incredibly ‘Everton’ signings on Deadline Day while Newcastle spent with the enthusiasm of a recent lottery winner.

But plenty of sides used the January window to offload some unwanted players on a temporary basis or allow their promising young talents to experience regular football elsewhere.

We’ve compiled an XI of players that left Premier League clubs on loan during the January transfer window.

GK: Freddie Woodman

A Newcastle United academy graduate, Woodman spent the last two seasons on loan at Swansea City and is regarded as a future No.1 at St.James Park. 

But he is currently behind Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow in the pecking order and Newcastle aren’t willing to take any risks as they look to avoid relegation. 

The goalkeeper has joined Championship side Bournemouth on loan until the end of the season and will be hoping to aid their promotion bid.

RB: Neco Williams

While Williams is highly-rated at Liverpool, he was always going to struggle to usurp Trent Alexander-Arnold as their first-choice right-back.

The Wales international has started just four games in all competitions this season and needs regular opportunities ahead of the World Cup play-off semi-finals.

He left Anfield on transfer deadline day and is going to spend the rest of 2021-22 on loan at Fulham, who are currently sitting at the top of the Championship.

CB: Nat Phillips

After Liverpool suffered a defensive injury crisis in 2020-21, Phillips stepped up to the plate and made 20 appearances in all competitions.

But Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez have since returned to full fitness, and he has fallen down the pecking order this season.

“People often ask me which player made the biggest improvements under my leadership, and I say Robert Lewandowski,” Jurgen Klopp said in December 2021.

“That’s probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips, just in a completely different department. I remember when I saw Nat Phillips first. I spoke to him after the game and he’s one of the smartest players I ever worked with. I told him: ‘You know you are not the easiest on the eye, eh?’

“But he improved in pretty much everything since, and he’s not playing. Life is sometimes not fair and I can’t blame him. We cannot keep him forever, that’s clear. We needed him, just to be safe, for that half-year.”

The centre-back was allowed to leave Anfield on loan in January and will now look to showcase his impressive skills at Bournemouth.

READ: Naldini’s San Siro Cruyff turn assures his place in Liverpool folklore

CB: Axel Tuanzebe

Many at United would have wished to see Tuanzebe kickstart his career at Aston Villa but, finding himself behind Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, the defender only made nine Premier League appearances between August and January.

New Villa boss Steven Gerrard clearly didn’t fancy the 24-year-old much and Tuanzebe has joined Serie A giants Napoli for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

Days after arriving in Italy, he was introduced against Sampdoria for the final 10 minutes as Napoli ran out 1-0 winners – but he’s been restricted to the bench since and has been left out of their Europa League squad.

LB: Matt Targett

Chelsea signed Wayne Bridge, Manchester City signed… Wayne Bridge and Newcastle are the next lottery-winning Premier League side to buy a left-back in their first cash-enriched transfer window.

Targett is a step below the former England international but he served Aston Villa well as they re-established themselves in the top flight and should strengthen a porous Newcastle defence. An eminently sensible addition.

CM: Tanguy Ndombele

Ndombele’s probably scorched the earth at Tottenham but we’ll always have that goal against Sheffield United. Here’s hoping the midfielder rediscovers his mojo at Lyon.

CM: Giovani Lo Celso 

Despite arriving in England with a big reputation, things never quite worked out for Lo Celso at Tottenham.

While the playmaker has made a total of 17 appearances in all competitions this season, just two starts have been made in the Premier League – and Antonio Conte evidently wanted rid.

Lo Celso will spend the remainder of the campaign at Villarreal. The Argentina international played the best football of his career in Spain’s top flight, chipping in with nine goals from 32 outings during a loan spell at Real Betis in 2018-19.

We’re presuming he’s delighted to have returned to La Liga.

CM: Donny van de Beek

After playing a key role in the Ajax side that reached the 2019 Champions League semi-finals, Van de Beek joined Manchester United in a £34million deal a year later.

But the midfielder wasn’t given much of a chance to shine at Old Trafford, starting just four Premier League games over the following 18 months. 

He unsurprisingly grew tired of picking splinters on the bench and will be hoping to get his career back on track during a loan spell at Everton.

The Netherlands international is now looking forward to working under Frank Lampard, who is one of the best midfielders in Premier League history.

“I can learn a lot from him because he was a little bit in the same position – a midfield player who scored a lot of goals,” Van de Beek told Everton TV.

“He can help me a lot, so I think I’m in a good spot. I want to improve with Everton. There are always things that can be better and I work hard every day to do that.”

RW: Adama Traore

A La Masia academy graduate, Traore made just four appearances for Barcelona’s first team and was deemed surplus to requirements in 2015.

The winger had stints at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough before spending three-and-a-half years at Wolves, where he regularly terrorised Premier League defences. 

Despite being heavily linked with a move to Tottenham, he couldn’t reject the opportunity to return to his boyhood club in January.

The Spain international has joined Barcelona on an initial loan but they also have the option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.

Adama Traore celebrates after scoring for Barcelona. Camp Nou, December 2014.

READ: Where are they now? Barcelona’s Xl from Adama Traore’s debut in 2013

ST: Anthony Martial

Martial never quite delivered on his immense promise at Manchester United, with groans greeting the sight of his name on the teamsheet by the end of his six-and-a-half-year spell at Old Trafford.

Even if he leaves England with a legacy of frustration and unfulfilled potential, the France forward gave United some moments of absolute brilliance and Sevilla will be hoping they can coax more consistent performances from the 26-year-old.

And, if his reaction to Ronaldo’s introductory message is anything to go by, Martial still gives a damn about his career. There’s hope yet…

LW: Bryan Gil

The third Tottenham player to feature on this list, Gil is regarded as one of Spain’s best young prospects and joined Spurs from Sevilla last summer.

But he is yet to make a Premier League start and has completed just 87 minutes of league football over nine substitute appearances. 

After Dejan Kulusevski arrived on an initial 18-month loan deal from Juventus, the winger decided to return to Spain and will spend the rest of 2021-22 on loan at Valencia.

“I was looking forward to returning to Spain,” Gil said. “I hope to grow as a player and give my best. I want to gain more experience and work a lot.

“One of the reasons why I’ve come here is [Valencia coach Jose] Bordalas’ style of play and how he likes to compete. I think it will help me a lot.”


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