Following our feature on the best West Ham signings in the Premier League era, I delved into the loan signings we’ve made over the same period.
In the last 30 years, West Ham have picked up some pretty useful players on loan. A loan deal can tide a team over in times of need or even, if the right deal is negotiated, become a full signing later on.
A few have proved to be positive loan signings for the Hammers over the years like Manuel Lanzini who signed from Al Jazira on a season long loan in 2015, and made a pretty fast impact. He scored on his debut in the Europa League, then scored again against Liverpool in his second league appearance for the Hammers. Since signing initially as a loanee, he’s now in his fifth season in East London and is an integral part of the team.
Next up is Andy Carroll who provided some fantastic moments in claret and blue. His first season at West Ham was on loan from Liverpool, a season that supposedly cost the Hammers around £5million including loan fee and wages. Okay, not the bargain of the century, but it was certainly worth it on a ‘try before you buy’ basis. He may have had his injury woes, but I don’t think many would deny he was a player who shaped many games for the better.
And then there’s George McCartney, a player so good we signed him three times! The defender signed on loan for West Ham in the 2011/12 season in his second spell at the club. He made 38 appearances in that season, helping the Hammers to promotion from the Championship. His performances had impressed so much that he won Players’ Player of the Year in the end of season awards.
An honourable mention should also go to Robbie Keane, who didn’t set the world alight but scored a couple of goals in nine games and it couldn’t be said that he didn’t make an effort. Freddie Kanouté also shared some good times with the Hammers in a loan spell, before he seemed to go off the boil after making his move permanent. And Wayne Bridge did a decent job in his time on loan too.
But the good can also be balanced out by the bad. There have been a few over the years that we should be glad that we didn’t dish out big bucks for. Mido had a point to prove to the football world. If the point was that he couldn’t score goals, then he succeeded.
The Egyptian made nine appearances in four months and didn’t score a single goal. He also missed a penalty. It’s not easy to settle in to a team in such a short time, but as a striker looking to announce your worth in the Premier League, it’s not good enough.
Who can forget Roger ‘The Relegator’ Johnson? Before signing on loan for West Ham in 2014, Johnson had been relegated from the Premier League three times. Surely a red flag to any manager, but oh no, not Big Sam! Roger and Sam avoided relegation that season, but some of the defending was laughable.
What about Marouane Chamakh? Played three times, scored zero times. It’s not necessarily his fault that he didn’t get an opportunity, but he was signed following promotion to the Premier League so he needed to make a positive impact as quickly as he could. He just didn’t. Of course, he scored against the Hammers the following season!
It’s also worth mentioning Simone Zaza, who should have been so much better, and Brian Montenegro, who played less than 20 minutes in claret and blue. Along with countless other average players, players who didn’t play many minutes and players who got injured within minutes of touching the east London soil.
There are also plenty more whose names will ring no more bells with you than with someone born yesterday. (Naming them could be a fun game!)The moral of the story is to use loan signings well. They can be great assets and can go on to be valuable permanent players. If they don’t work out, as many don’t, there’s not too much lost though.