Reviewing the early season performance of loan players in England

Following the abolition of the emergency loan rule at the end of 2015/16, the entire dynamic of the player loan market has changed for clubs in England operating in the Premier League and Football League.

Given that all loan transfers for the first half of the season had to be agreed and finalised by 31st August, we are now in a situation where the make-up of all 92 league club squads are going to remain relatively stable for a four-month period. It also means that loan players, including several emerging youth internationals, will have a prolonged period at one club where they can continue their development as a fully integrated member of that first-team squad.

It has also given us at Player LENS the opportunity to properly compare and contrast the relative success of each loan move agreed prior to the deadline, so that we can try and determine which clubs have successfully utilised the loan market, both from a recruitment perspective and from the perspective of a parent club.

If you are not already familiar with Player LENS, we are supporting clubs operating across the football pyramid by providing them with an independent and secure portal for placing, searching and requesting players for loan transfers. As part of our day-to-day operations, we also undertake extensive research into the loan market, which included the publication of an annual loan market review for the 2015/16 season during the summer.

Now that we are almost a quarter of the way into the 2016/17 campaign, we have now finished compiling our latest publication, the English Professional Football Loan Market Report, which evaluates the early season performance of loan players affiliated to English clubs.

Within the report, we have taken subjective data to review each players’ performance and, where the stats suggest further analysis, have teamed up with Scout7 to use their ISF platform and video App to validate the data.

The key data point we have used to validate a successful loan is the amount of minutes a player is getting during his loan spell. So if a player is a key member of his new club’s starting eleven, then the loan is arguably a success with both clubs, and the player, benefitting from the move. Additional consideration is also given to a player’s performance data, to identify where a player is being effective and then further analysis is obtained using

One notable finding we have uncovered is how as a collective, League One clubs have successfully utilised loan agreements with Championship clubs. In total, there have been 33 loan moves from the Championship into League One where, on average, players have been getting 82 minutes of first-team league football a week.

From an individual player perspective, most people are aware that Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham is having a great start to the season at Bristol City, but what may be less obvious is that Man City’s Enes Unal has begun his loan spell at FC Twente in fine form alongside his colleague Bersant Celina.

In the Championship, Huddersfield Town have utilised the loan system well at both ends of the pitch, with German loanee Elias Kachunga scoring and creating chances and Liverpool’s Daniel Ward performing well in goal. Newcastle’s Macauley Gillesphey also looks to be performing well at Carlisle, who have the 2nd best defensive record in League Two.

Here is a snapshot of the top 10 loans in the Championship, lifted from the report, based on the minutes each player is getting per week:

*based on data captured on 14/10/2016

Following the initial publication of this report, we will be publishing further editions over the course of the season, in line with developments during the campaign. We will also utilise Scout7’s ISF Platform to provide a club with an insight into the players who have been made available for loan, or transfer, on the Player LENS platform.

For more information about the autumn edition of our English Professional Football Loan Market Report, or to obtain a full copy, please email me at

Further information about the Player LENS platform can also be found at our website:

by Lee Hemmings (Guest Blog) Managing Director, Player LENS

Published 26 October 2016