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Make Your Case: Loans - Good Or Bad?

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In this week's Make Your Case, we take on the issue of loan signings, and whether or not they are worthwhile for a club like Sunderland.

Chris Brunskill

Loans Are Beneficial - Chris Weatherspoon

Let's be frank here - loan moves are in no way ideal. Particularly for a Premier League club. As seen with Danny Rose last season, and the likes of Danny Welbeck previously, a good season at a loan club rarely translates into that club securing the player's services long term; instead, the player is more likely to return to his parent club with a better chance of first-team action.

With this summer's temporary acquisitions of Ondrej Celustka, Ki Sung-Yeung and Fabio Borini, Sunderland fans are again wondering the merits of such loan signings. With the likes of Rose and Welbeck the most prominent examples of where the club has seemingly been scorned by its frequent short-term deals, many feel that the continued pursuit of such deals is on no benefit to the club.

Yet, such a view is not necessarily correct. Let us consider that, in the short-term, long dealings are hugely helpful to the club's cause. Rose was comfortably Sunderland's best outfield player last term - only Steven Fletcher really came close, and he then missed the last two months through injury. Without the Spurs man's calming presence at full-back it is questionable whether or not the Black Cats would have survived relegation.

Obviously, Rose has now returned to White Hart Lane, and Sunderland have little hope of securing his signature. But his presence on Wearside bore great fruit in his short stint and, who knows, should things turn sour for Rose in North London, he may look to move on, and Sunderland would surely be his first port of call.

Having to see players return to their parent clubs after an excellent season is far from idyllic, but Sunderland are not yet in the position whereby they can snare the best talents from the top clubs on a permanent basis. Perhaps the current problem lies in that the Wearsiders' permanent squads have so often been mediocre that the loan players stand out well above the rest.

Instead of seeking loan players as remedies to age-old problems - as Rose was at left-back - the club should look only to use loan players as supplements to the permanent playing squad. One senses this is what the club has done this summer - the loanees introduced will not be expected to drag the side out of the mire, instead they will be used as important additions to a squad that is (hopefully) of higher quality than previously.

An over-reliance on loan signings is not the answer; nor is a complete dismissal of the concept. The ultimate aim is to get Sunderland to a position whereby they no longer need to dip into the temporary market, or where their own pulling power is sufficient enough to turn successful loan moves into permanent transfers. That may yet come to pass following this term but, for now, so long as the squad is not entirely reliant on its loanees, there is nothing wrong with this kind of transfer deal.

Loans Are A Bad Move - Luke Bowley

Paolo Di Canio promised a revolution when he came to Sunderland. Gone would be the days of the mediocrity of the Bruce/O'Neill/later Keane era, characterised by relegation tussles and average players paid way over the odds. Everything about the club seemed to suggest it was possible too, with an entirely new 'continental' system coming in behind the scenes, and a long-term strategy seemingly put in place at last. An emphasis on scouting, and building a team of exciting players was introduced.

However so far things haven't gone quite to plan. Two defeats and a draw leaves the club second bottom and everything currently seems remarkably similar to what's gone before. This includes Sunderland's use of the loan market.

Part time dinnerlady Steve Bruce was perhaps the biggest user of the loan market at the club. During the 2010/11 season alone, Danny Welbeck, Nedhum Onuoha, Ahmed Elmohammady, Sully Muntari and John Mensah were all brought in on short-term deals. Only one, Elmohammady, was signed permanently, and he was crap. This meant that the following season Bruce, who resembles the patient 'Bloaty Head' from the 1997 simulation video game Theme Hospital, had to replace a core group of players.

We've seen similar problems this summer trying to find a left back to replace Danny Rose, who returned to his parent club Tottenham over the summer. In the end we had to sign Andrea Dossena on a free, who's never particularly inspired confidence, and who again seems like a short-term option. Bringing in loans is no way to build a squad, and seems entirely at odds with the more long-term thinking that's supposed to be in place at Sunderland now.

It's true that loan deals can just be done to get a tricky deal through quickly, with the option of a deal at the end of it to tie it up permanently, however the only player we can say with much confidence could be here next season is right back Ondrej Celustka. Ki Sung-Yeung could make a permanent move if he performs well, but there's no guarantee of that, and if he performs *too* well, there's always the possibility of a bigger club coming in for him next summer. Fabio Borini will almost certainly return to Liverpool after his loan deal is done.

It may well be that Di Fanti and, if he's still here, Di Canio, will have to go on another big recruitment drive next summer to replace the departing loan players. The era of assembling and disassembling squads each year should be over by now, and if Sunderland are to find stability, and then push for a places higher up in the table, then they can't rely on the loan market.

Infographic from