The summer transfer window still has a month to run but EFL sides are getting down to business on the field and many are looking to the Premier League for reinforcements who might give their campaigns a top-flight boost.
Loan moves can be crucial to a player’s development – Harry Kane, Mason Mount and Jesse Lingard all benefited from a Championship education before they became Premier League regulars.
As well as affording emerging talent more playing time, the loan system has bolstered several promotion bids. Manchester United’s James Garner and Aston Villa’s Keinan Davis were among the players who helped fire Nottingham Forest to the Premier League last term, while Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White was named player of the season at play-off semi-finalists Sheffield United.
EFL rules state that clubs can have up to eight players on loan at any given time, but only five can be named on a teamsheet, and only two over the age of 23 are permitted to be borrowed from any one club.
Who could benefit from temporary transfers this time around? The Athletic picks out the Premier League players ripe for loan moves in 2022-23…
Goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo was rewarded with a new three-year contract last year after progressing through Arsenal’s academy.
The 20-year-old made the bench on several occasions over the past two seasons but is now ready for his first taste of senior football with a temporary move to League Two side Crewe on the cards.
The club are exploring options for striker Folarin Balogun. The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Middlesbrough but it is understood that Arsenal are as yet undecided as to whether Balogun is better off going on loan to gain further experience or staying put to be used in cup competitions and as an understudy to Mikel Arteta’s first-choice forwards.
The list at Aston Villa goes on and on. Keinan Davis spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest and could go out again if he does not secure a permanent move away, while Cameron Archer may yet start the season as Villa’s third striker, but is another forward wanted by almost the entire Championship.
Aaron Ramsey, brother of England Under-21 star, Jacob, is also attracting interest from the second tier, while Tim Iroegbunam, Kaine Kesler-Hayden and perhaps even Kortney Hause — the fifth-choice centre-back currently recovering from minor surgery on a knee injury and wanted by Watford — could all make loan exits.
Villa have already moved on plenty of their younger players but more will follow before the transfer window closes.
Bournemouth have already sent midfielder Gavin Kilkenny out on loan to Stoke City. The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is expected to build on the promise he showed in a breakout 2021-22 season, when he made 14 league appearances as a worthy understudy to Lewis Cook and Jefferson Lerma.
Centre-back James Hill is another to keep an eye on, depending on whether Bournemouth sign enough defenders to let him develop elsewhere. The 20-year-old was signed from Fleetwood Town in January amid interest from Barcelona and is considered by Bournemouth to be a future centre-back partner to captain Lloyd Kelly.
Noa Boutin is a wildcard option considering he is just 18 years old. The French left-back was named Bournemouth’s scholar of the year last season after a strong campaign, leading the club to tie him down to a third-year scholarship and a first-year professional deal in May.
Brentford have already sent some promising young players out on loan this window, including Paris Maghoma and Daniel Oyegoke, who joined AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes Dons respectively.
However, a few other talented individuals could benefit from regular game time.
Fin Stevens made his Premier League debut for Brentford in a 4-1 defeat to Southampton in January and could provide valuable cover at full-back this year. However, the arrival of Aaron Hickey means it might make more sense to send the 19-year-old — who signed a new contract with the club in June until 2027 — to a Championship or League One side to further aid his development.
Brentford have high hopes for Nathan Young-Coombes, who was the B team’s top scorer last year, and could decide a loan would be good for him too.
Kjell Scherpen has not had much luck at Brighton so far but is still regarded as a goalkeeper with a big future to match his 6ft 8ins frame.
The 22-year-old Dutchman suffered an ankle injury on his debut in a pre-season friendly at Glasgow Rangers last summer after signing from Ajax, but Brighton are continuing to develop Scherpen, who is currently third choice behind Robert Sanchez and experienced No 2 Jason Steele.
He performed soundly on loan to Oostende in Belgium from January last season and another loan beckons now to aid his progress. Scherpen needs game time, but Championship side Birmingham were not regarded as an appropriate fit.
His potential was highlighted by a call-up from former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal to the senior Netherlands squad in June in place of the injured Tim Krul.
Chelsea’s academy has ample talent worth considering for loans and one name to keep a close eye on this summer is Charlie Webster.
The 18-year-old has not made a senior appearance but was named on the bench by coach Thomas Tuchel for last season’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Brentford.
He has trained with the first team on more than one occasion and has admirers in the squad, with some affectionately referring to him as a “baller”.
The creative midfielder has just one year left on his contract so will have to agree an extension first before being allowed to leave on loan. It is believed he still has dreams of progressing at Chelsea but proving himself elsewhere will be key to his development.
A loan to Coventry for Tayo Adaramola is the perfect opportunity for the latest talent off the Crystal Palace production line. Already a first-team player, having featured in the FA Cup matches with Hartlepool and Stoke City last season, the pacy, attacking left-back is one to keep an eye on.
Jesurun Rak-Sakyi is set for a move to League One, with Oxford United and Charlton Athletic interested. Palace are content for the 19-year-old to move to either, with both offering regular minutes and a suitable style.
Young midfielder Jack Wells-Morrison, an England Under-18 international, might have hoped for a temporary move away but did not travel with the squad on their pre-season tour and has not featured much back in the UK. It seems more likely he will remain with Palace’s Under-21s until January at least.
The 20-year-old striker Rob Street is expected to move on loan to either League One or League Two, with several clubs having shown an interest over the summer. He may have been hampered by a lack of minutes in Singapore and Australia, however.
Everton have already let striker Ellis Simms and midfielder Tyler Onyango join Sunderland and Burton Albion respectively.
Frank Lampard used the squad’s time in USA to decide which young players would benefit from a loan and it seems likely another highly rated striker, Lewis Dobbin, will follow them.
The 19-year-old made his breakthrough last term with three Premier League appearances for the first team, but Lampard feels his progress will be best served away from Goodison this season.
“Everyone is different. For someone like Lewis Dobbin, it may be: ‘Let’s see him play proper football (on loan) somewhere’,” Lampard told The Athletic in Baltimore. It’s unlikely there will be a shortage of interested clubs.
It is less likely that fellow youngsters Stanley Mills, who shone on the tour, Lewis Warrington, so assured on loan at Tranmere last season, and Reece Welch will be sent out.
However, left-back Niels Nkounkou, 21, who was loaned to Standard Liege last season, has fallen even further back in the pecking order with Ruben Vinagre’s arrival and could be sent out again.
Fulham’s academy has an impressive record for producing talent and there are several on the books who could make their mark in the EFL this year.
Among them is Australian midfielder Tyrese Francois, 22, who recently signed a new two-year contract and will be looking for more regular game time this season.
Adrion Pajaziti, 19, is another technical midfielder who made his first-team debut last year, while American wing-back Marlon Fossey, 23, caught the eye at Bolton on loan last season and will have second-tier interest this summer.
Fulham are not currently looking to loan out promising Rodrigo Muniz, who has been attracting interest from Middlesbrough. The 21-year-old Brazilian striker, signed from Flamengo last summer, impressed in cameos last year as a deputy for Aleksandar Mitrovic, but Fulham would only countenance a loan if they strengthen in attack, which at the moment is not a priority.
Should he join an EFL side, he would undoubtedly be a talent to watch. So, too, would forward Jay Stansfield, 19, who made four appearances last year, and has been with the first team for the past two seasons. He is also well regarded by Fulham coach Marco Silva.
Leeds have already allowed Charlie Cresswell and Jamie Shackleton — two players in the first-team mix last season — to move to Millwall on loan in a bid for more game time.
The likes of Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood and Archie Gray are all part of Jesse Marsch’s plans so the next player on his way to the EFL on loan is likely to be Lewis Bate.
Bate joined Leeds from Chelsea last summer and made three first-team appearances. However, he was left out of the squad for the tour of Australia.
Leeds have signed a number of midfielders after the exit of Kalvin Phillips, including Tyler Adams and Marc Roca. With Gray, Greenwood, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich and others in the mix to play in the centre of the park, Bate’s opportunities would be limited this campaign.
Sammy Braybrooke is one to watch. The playmaker is captain of England Under-18s and recently led them to a four-nation tournament victory against Wales, Austria and Croatia — appropriate considering he is known as “Leicester’s Modric” within the England camp.
Braybrooke has been involved in pre-season and will hope to replicate what Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall did so well last summer and catch the eye of Brendan Rodgers.
It may be early in his development and a loan might be beneficial, but as Luke Thomas has demonstrated, there is a different path if young players seize their opportunity.
Leighton Clarkson is one player who could be a smart move for any EFL sides on the lookout for a creative midfielder.
Nicknamed “Philipp Lahm” by Jurgen Klopp and his staff in the past, Clarkson has what has been described as “laser vision” and an excellent range of passes in his locker.
Last season he was loaned out to hometown club Blackburn Rovers, but after just nine appearances, for a number of reasons, his time at Ewood Park was cut short and he returned to Liverpool in January 2022.
Still needing plenty of playing time to help fine-tune his game, the 20-year-old would be a solid option for a Championship or League One club.
Elsewhere, Liverpool central defender Sepp van den Berg has enjoyed time away from the club in recent seasons.
The Dutch youth international spent a season and a half on loan at Preston North End playing a multitude of roles including right-back and right-wing back, but newly-promoted Bournemouth could borrow the versatile 20-year-old this season, having been linked in recent weeks.
Manchester City youngster James McAtee is attracting so much interest from Premier League, La Liga and Eredivisie clubs that he may be allowed to leave on loan this summer.
The 19-year-old signed a new City contract earlier this year and the club would not accept his permanent departure.
McAtee himself wants to stay and break through at City, but has now received so many offers from top sides that a decision will be made about whether to take advantage of the opportunity to play regularly over the next 12 months, with a view to returning to the Etihad Stadium closer to the first team next summer.
As a sign of how much City value their academy product, who joined the club at the age of 10, they would be willing to consider a loan if a particularly appealing option presents itself to McAtee, and he wants to pursue it.
Manchester United have a handful of players who were just too old to feature in their FA Youth Cup trophy win last season, but could do with playing football away from the somewhat chaotic midfields of Under-23 academy football.
Former young player of the year Shola Shoretire is on the cusp of senior team football and comes with glowing praise from former coach Neil Ryan, but our pick for a player to shake up the Championship comes in the form of fiery 19-year-old Hannibal Mejbri.
Mejbri has had an interesting time in the United academy, first joining as a No 10, before being moved out onto the wing. He has since reverted to a central playmaking position for the majority of games, but has occasionally played in deeper roles as a Paul Pogba-style box-to-box midfielder.
The Tunisian FA regards Mejbri highly, including him in their 2021 Arab Cup and AFCON 2022 squads. He has shown glimpses of a talent that can play first-team football but needs a move to prove in which position and as what kind of player.
Six months in League Two with Bristol Rovers propelled Elliot Anderson into the first-team picture at Newcastle; he may head out to the EFL again this season, even if head coach Eddie Howe is in no rush to make that decision.
Jay Turner-Cooke may also benefit from a loan spell. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has impressed at under-21 level, catching Howe’s eye with his technical quality and earning a place on the bench for the trip to Manchester City in May.
Turner-Cooke was also called across from Spain, where Newcastle’s under-21 side were training, to join the senior squad in Austria earlier his month. While he did not feature against 1860 Munich or Mainz, that showed how highly he is regarded.
Yet the former Sunderland youth player requires first-team experience before he can really be considered ready to make the step up at Newcastle and, given his undoubted quality, he could be an intriguing option for an EFL side.
There was a time when Alex Mighten was regarded as every bit as bright a prospect as Brennan Johnson but, while Johnson evolved during his loan move at Lincoln, it feels as though Mighten’s progress has stalled through a lack of game time.
Steve Cooper has a big decision to make over whether to allow winger Mighten to leave on loan or whether to let him continue his development at Forest.
But there are a host of other players who are more likely to be given the chance to move out on loan, following the likes of Will Swan, Riley Harbottle (both Mansfield), Jonathan Panzo (Coventry), Fin Back (Carlisle) and Tyrese Fornah (Reading).
Attacking midfielder Ateef Konate has been bright for the under-23 side for some time, but the 21-year-old Frenchman needs the opportunity to test himself at first-team level. The same is true of Swedish forward Julian Larsson, who is also 21.
Dale Taylor, already a Northern Ireland international at the age of 18, is generating a lot of excitement but the club may decide to continue his development at the City Ground.
Dynel Simeu is arguably the only young player from Southampton in recent years to use a loan as a tool to accelerate progression.
While others have struggled to acclimatise or get minutes, the centre-back was impressive on loan at Carlisle United last year, becoming a fan favourite and receiving glowing references from manager Paul Simpson.
Simeu has been with the first team throughout pre-season but has only played half an hour of football across three games. He then returned for a B-team fixture while Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were at Watford.
However, the Chelsea academy graduate is highly regarded and viewed as more than capable of making the next step up in the Football League. A loan spell at a League One or Championship club should be on the cards.
Troy Parrott has already gone to Preston North End, while Dane Scarlett is set to spend the new season at Portsmouth, but there are plenty of other talented players at Spurs who clubs will be looking at in the loan market this season.
Alfie Devine is a 17-year-old creative midfielder signed from Wigan in 2020. He has already made his first-team debut and is surely set for a good season out on loan.
Jamie Donley is a few months younger than Devine and is similarly highly rated within his age group. Harvey White is slightly older at 20, but is a set-piece specialist who already has a good stint at Portsmouth behind him and will surely make the next step up.
Then there is Kion Etete, a tall centre-forward who scored goals in League Two and League One last season and is primed to do it again.
West Ham’s Under-18 side is a hotbed of young talent and Kaelan Casey, Divin Mubama, Gideon Kodua and George Earthy have made huge progress over the past 12 months.
Mubama, a striker, signed his first professional contract in October and has been capped at England Under-18 level. He joined the first team for their pre-season training camps in Scotland and France. He scored in the friendly against Swiss side Servette at the start of this month and fans will hope to see him stay in east London to continue his progression in the under-21s.
Callum Marshall has adapted seamlessly to life with the Under-18s after joining from Linfield in January. Blackpool and Derby County showed interest but the opportunity to hone his craft at Chadwell Heath was too hard to turn down.
Mipo Odubeko spent time last season on loan at Doncaster Rovers and could benefit from increased playing time once again.
The man most in need of a loan move away from Molineux was Fabio Silva and he has got one, securing a season-long switch to Anderlecht and marking his debut by stepping off the bench and scoring in the opening game of the Belgian season.
Theo Corbeanu has joined Blackpool, while Nigel Lonwijk has joined League One side Plymouth Argyle after signing a new Molineux deal, but others could leave Wolves temporarily.
Defender Yerson Mosquera is in need of regular games and will almost certainly be offered to clubs on loan, while midfielder Connor Ronan, who seems to have spent his entire senior career out on loan, will probably head out again.
There is a strong case for midfielder Luke Cundle getting regular game-time, too, but a couple of things make that less likely.
Firstly, Wolves are light on numbers in midfield so would almost certainly need to bring another player in before allowing Cundle out. Secondly, his height, just 5ft 7in, means some coaches believe he is better suited to the technical challenge of the Premier League than the physical toil of the Championship.
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