Top Ten: Our Favourite SAFC Loan Signings

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With Nicklas Bendtner's arrival on deadline day proving to be our only piece of business to get Jim White all hot under the collar I began to think back over my favourite player's that have spent a brief spell on Wearside on the loan from their parent club. Loan deals are often vastly beneficial for both parties. The player's manager is able to give first team football to a player, usually for experience or match practice and the receiving club usually gets a player keen to impress, either to engineer a move or impress their gaffer back home.

So without further ado I run through my favourite SAFC loan signings.

Number 10: Shay Given

Okay, okay, we all know how the Shay Given story panned out and the important role that the shot stopper played for our noisy neighbours but it would be unjust to belittle the role that Given played for Sunderland's promotion push of 1995/96. Given's stint on Wearside was nothing short of superb, practically flawless, racking up twelve cleansheets from his seventeen appearances at Roker Park whilst on loan from Blackburn Rovers.

Given's sublime form would prove to be the foundation from which Peter Reid's revitalised Sunderland side were able to build a side worthy of promotion to the Premier League. Unfortunately however it was this same great form which alerted Newcastle United to the talented keeper's availability and the Black Cats were unable to woo the Irish International to the club on a full term deal.

Number 9: Peter Beagrie

As is par for the course when putting together the Top Ten for the site I like to seek the opinions of my well informed Roker Reporters. Upon hearing my chosen topic for the week the gaffer Simon Walsh was the first to chime in, excitedly, with the name Peter Beagrie. I could tell by the number of explanation marks used in his reply, a good indicator of his excitement level!

Beagrie was a loan signing from Everton but was only afforded the briefest of spells to showcase his obvious talents on the wing making just five appearances but managing to find the net once. Deep down however all Sunderland fans knew that Beagrie's move was never to become permanent and as quickly as he arrived the nomadic, somersaulting wide man was off again.

Number 8: Justin Hoyte

The first of two unlikely Derby Day heroes to make the list comes in the shape of little Justin Hoyte. During the summer of 2005 Arsene Wenger was keen for his young fullback to gain first team experience, but only with a Premiership side, so Sunderland it was with Ipswich Town missing out on their man. I was impressed with Hoyte even if he was "just" a solid if unspectacular right-back.

Arsene must have been delighted as Justin made thirty-one appearances during his season long stay on Wearside and the Sunderland fans were just as thrilled with his Derby Day goal.

Justin Hoyte first goal for Sunderland (via arsenalweb)

Number 7: Patrice Carteron

The second improbable Derby Day hero? Who else but Patrice! I must be gaining a reputation when it comes to this flamboyant wing-back as I have mentioned his name on this site more times than I care to remember by now! So with that in mind I will direct you to his Cult Hero piece and provide his most memorable highlight in a brief yet high-tech moving images format below!

Carteron - Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1 (Saturday, 21 April 2001) (via ilpostinopatsafc)

Number 6: Patrick Mboma

I can't have been the only one that was excited at the prospect of Mboma playing for Sunderland surely? What else could we have wanted in a centre forward? Strength, power, a knack for hammering home long-range efforts and of course that overhead kick against France...

Patrick Mboma France-Cameroun Octobre 2000 (via papanga)

Unfortunately the Patrick Mboma which Reidy brought to the club on loan from Parma was never fully fit during his time on Wearside and struggled to settle in the area. However, in flashes, the Cameroon legend's abilities were still there for all to see, if only we had been able to bring him to the club a few years earlier...

Number 5: Danny Welbeck

While the rest of the Premier League, even most Manchester United fans, are finally sitting up and taking notice of his obvious talent Sunderland fans were already fully aware of what Danny Welbeck is capable of and his huge potential. Despite suffering with injury for the majority of the last half of the season Danny had already become a firm favourite with the fans, impressed with his energetic and direct style of play, who hoped and prayed that the very slim chance of securing the forward on a permanent deal may have been possible.

Welbeck had no trouble making the transition from a bit-part player at Old Trafford to becoming a key part of Steve Bruce's Sunderland setup. In fact the opposite was true as the youngster relished his opportunity to shine and grabbed it with both hands. So whilst Danny may now be turning on the style for the Champions I'm sure few will begrudge the forward all the success his career should bring.

★ Danny Welbeck ★ All goals 2010/2011 (via orston60)

Number 4: John Mensah

The "Rock of Gibraltar" may have been more candy rock than his nickname would suggest given his almost constant battle with injuries, however on the rare occasion that he was match fit there was no doubting his abilities as a central defender. Strong and imposing on his day, Bruce was a big admirer of the player, with only his battle with the treatment table the only factor that seemed to deter the gaffer from offering the defensive giant a permanent deal.

So whilst Mensah played the role of Sunderland's very own Ledley King admirably, the nagging concern over his fitness would ultimately sway Bruce's decision over his future. However the now infamous bust up with Nedum Onouha following the dismal defeat to Wolves can only have helped move the big fella out of the door. Kudos to Nedum mind, standing up to the huge Mensah must have taken a big old set of...

Number 3: Jonny Evans

Another loan signing from Manchester United who has gone on the benefit greatly from his time of Wearside is the talented Jonny Evans. I was a huge fan of Evans during his two spells with Sunderland, especially during the promotion season with Keane at the helm, Evans was immense at the back that year playing with a level of maturity and composure that is rarely found with players of his age.

Much like Welbeck I dared to dream that we would be able to capture the Northern Ireland International's signature on a full term deal, at one point it seemed plausible given Manchester United's abundance in riches across the defensive line. However, believe it or not, Sir Alex is not daft and Evans has emerged as an important figure in his squad despite a number of high profile arrivals.

Number 2: Stewart Downing

What we would give to have a left sided player like Stewart in Sunderland's starting eleven today. As a product of Middlesbrough's academy Downing was, quite rightly, highly rated on Teeside. However, unable to fight his way onto the first team scene due to the form of a certain Bolo Zenden, he was made available on loan to gain first team experience. Sunderland jumped at the chance to bring the tricky winger into their squad.

To say Downing had a successful spell with Sunderland would be somewhat of a massive understatement. The winger was quite clearly far too good for the Championship and was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch during his short spell at the Stadium of Light managing a hugely impressive three goals from seven starts.

Unfortunately a combination of an injury crisis at Middlesbrough and his sensational form for SAFC meant that Downing was quickly recalled by the Teeside side and has since gone on to become one of the most highly rated players in his position in the Premier League.

Number 1: Djibril Cisse

Another man that has become a regular fixture on Roker Report, again mainly through my own pieces such as this installment of Cult Heroes, but I will offer no apologies, Djibs was a superb footballer and his time on Wearside deserves to be lauded at any opportunity. In my opinion anyway. If he wasn't knocking out fans with wayward shots on the training ground he was certainly entertaining the masses on a Saturday afternoon. Or whenever Sky decided we should play. Even if the man had a bad day at the office his bizarre taste in mohicans, tattoo's and Hulk Hogan-esq beards kept me entertained at least.

Like all the loan deals discussed in this Top Ten, it was never likely that Cisse's deal would be made permanent, no matter how hard I prayed, with the deal proving to be too much of a financial risk for the men in suits behind the scenes.

So there we have it, another week, another Top Ten. Feel free to vote for your favourite loanee in the poll below or let us know who should have made the list in the comments.

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