Every Premier League club's stand-out loan performer so far in 2023/24

  • Brighton have once again exploited the loan market very well
  • Man City boast a loanee in Spain's surprise leaders
  • Chelsea have one of the top scorers in Italy on their books
Youngsters from England's biggest clubs are getting valuable experience
Youngsters from England's biggest clubs are getting valuable experience / Matthew Ashton - AMA / Contributor / Craig Foy - SNS Group / Contributor / DeFodi Images / Contributor

As recently as 2003, Premier League clubs were prohibited from loaning players to other teams in England's top flight.

Two decades since the rule change, the division's leading teams hoard so much talent they are forced to spread it out all over the footballing pyramid, including to sides on the same rung of the ladder.

Here's a look at the best loanees each Premier League club has to offer so far this season.

Arsenal - Arthur Okonkwo (Wrexham)

Part-time footballer and full-time vlogger Ben Foster didn't leave particularly big gloves to fill but Arthur Okonkwo has slotted into his new surroundings at promotion favourites Wrexham seamlessly.

The 22-year-old boasted the best save ratio in League Two across the first half of the season, beating away four out of every five shots on target.

Aston Villa - Louie Barry (Stockport)

Louie Barry
Louie Barry spent some time at Barcelona's famed Masia academy / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Now onto his fifth loan spell in three seasons, 20-year-old Louie Barry is a veteran of the temporary move.

The former Barcelona academy product described as a "little Jamie Vardy" (in the best way possible) by Jurgen Klopp scored in seven consecutive games for Stockport County in League Two earlier this season.

A serious hamstring injury has hampered his campaign but Barry promised to "be back stronger than ever" on social media. As he sagely reflected, those are "the highs and lows of football".

Bournemouth - James Hill (Blackburn)

James Hill
James Hill has broken into Blackburn's first team / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

James Hill elbowed his way into Jon Dahl Tomasson's starting XI at Blackburn Rovers after catching the eye and the ear.

"He was very loud," the Blackburn boss remarked back in September, "you can hear him. I think he is a bit of a leader." Tomasson hailed the 21-year-old as "very mature" and has entrusted him with a complex hybrid role, lining up at right-back out of possession but tucking infield when Rovers have the ball.

Brentford - Fin Stevens (Oxford United)

Johan Cruyff called the rise of the wing-back the "death of football" but Fin Stevens is all for it.

The spritely right-sided flier has been at his best when Des Buckingham has deployed a back-three at League One's Oxford United this season. "I'm probably a bit in between a right back and a right winger," Stevens explained. "I can do both, but when I can do both in a game, it suits me well in getting forward and defending."

The 20-year-old hasn't looked out of place in an orthodox back-four either for the promotion-chasing U's. Such flexibility will be crucial upon his return to Brentford.

Brighton - Deniz Undav (Stuttgart)

Deniz Undav
Deniz Undav has impressed for high-flying Stuttgart this season / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Few clubs exploit the loan market - or any aspect of the market for that matter - as shrewdly as Brighton. Jan Paul van Hecke, Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma were all matured out on loan before being whisked back to the south coast.

Deniz Undav couldn't quite break into Roberto De Zerbi's side last season but has done his best to change the Italian's mind with a prolific spell in the Bundesliga.

In the first half of the German top-flight season, only Harry Kane and Undav's teammate at high-flying Stuttgart, Serhou Guirassy, scored more non-penalty goals than Brighton's loanee.

Burnley - Scott Twine (Hull)

Scott Twine
Scott Twine won the Championship with Burnley last season / George Wood/GettyImages

Liam Rosenior played top-flight football for four different clubs but looks back on his career with a sense of remorse. "My biggest regret is that I didn't enjoy it enough, I was too serious," the Hull City boss reflected earlier this season.

Scott Twine has belatedly begun to enjoy himself on the pitch after breaking his scoring drought in November. A glut of three goals in five games fixed a smile on the face of Hull's set-piece specialist.

Chelsea - Romelu Lukaku (Roma)

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is Roma's top scorer this season / Danilo Di Giovanni/GettyImages

As Romelu Lukaku landed at Rome's Ciampino airport, 5,000 fans were already clamouring outside awaiting his arrival. Never considered as a viable option by Mauricio Pochettino, Lukaku received a hero's welcome in Italy, inspiring a mural before even stepping foot on the pitch.

Lukaku immediately took up the baton of the team's talisman, reliably scoring goals at a rate to commission plenty more street art. Still with a Chelsea contract until 2026, Lukaku's immense individual talent has been harnessed by the same manager who overlooked the Belgian during his first spell in west London, Jose Mourinho. Perhaps both figures could be back at Stamford Bridge next season.

Crystal Palace - Owen Goodman (Colchester)

Owen Goodman
Owen Goodman has impressed for Colchester United / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

It's not easy to thrive in the rough and tumble of England's fourth tier at such a tender age. Owen Goodman was still a teenager when he joined Colchester United on loan in the summer but has performed with a sense of calm and maturity beyond his years.

The youngest regular number one in the division can also boast as many assists as Crystal Palace's vaunted attacking duo of Ebere Eze and Michael Olise (one).

Everton - Stan Mills (Oxford United)

Stanley Mills
Stanley Mills has enjoyed limited minutes for Everton / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Stan Mills is relishing his first sustained spell of senior football. "Playing in men's football, being competitive in every game, is what I love, and what I want to get as much experience as possible of," he gushed earlier this season.

The Everton academy graduate has become a fixture of Oxford United's first team since Des Buckingham took charge in mid-November and boasts a squad-high four assists.

Fulham - Jay Stansfield (Birmingham)

Jay Stansfield
Jay Stansfield is Birmingham's leading scorer this season / Morgan Harlow/GettyImages

Jay Stansfield has almost been too good during his first six months at Birmingham City.

Wayne Rooney's side has been forced to quash rumours of a recall back to Fulham while high-flying Championship rivals Ipswich Town are reportedly sniffing around the 21-year-old striker.

Liverpool - Sepp van den Berg (Mainz)

Sepp van den Berg
Sepp van den Berg scored against Borussia Dortmund before Christmas / Leon Kuegeler/GettyImages

Jurgen Klopp's old side Mainz may have only won one game before the Bundesliga's Christmas break but their slide down the table cannot be pinned on the team's defence.

Sepp van den Berg has been practically ever-present in a backline that boasts the defensive record of a mid-table team. While his attacking colleagues have floundered, Van den Berg took it upon himself to score, finding the net in a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund just before Christmas.

Luton Town - Jack Walton (Dundee United)

"I am a winner," Jack Walton declared upon his arrival at Dundee United. The English goalkeeper duly avoided defeat in each of his first 14 league appearances for the former top-flight champions that were relegated last season.

Luton's third-choice goalkeeper during their promotion campaign, who pulled his hamstring while celebrating the play-off final victory, could force his way up the pecking order if he earns promotion at Tannadice this term.

Man City - Yan Couto (Girona)

Yan Couto
Yan Couto has been exceptional at Girona this season / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Yan Couto admitted he was "convinced" he would join Barcelona but was lured to Manchester City by Catalonia's favourite son Pep Guardiola. Now on loan at regional rivals Girona, Couto is an integral part of Michel's surprise table toppers.

Embodying the attacking verve coursing throughout Spain's leading scorers, Couto plays with the same flair and positional flexibility as fellow loanee Joao Cancelo.

Man Utd - Will Fish (Hibernian)

Scottish Premier League Portrait Session
Will Fish also spent last season on loan at Hibernian / MB Media/GettyImages

An ever-present in the backline of a Hibernian side sitting in the top half of the Scottish Premiership, Will Fish is certainly getting the experience that Manchester United envisaged when sanctioning a second loan in Edinburgh. As Fish himself described: "This is a league where a lot of teams have big boys up front."

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery certainly thinks highly of the 20-year-old. "I think he's got a massive future ahead of him," he gushed earlier this season.

Newcastle - Yankuba Minteh (Feyenoord)

Yankuba Minteh
Yankuba Minteh has scored in the Champions League this season / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Yankuba Minteh's start to his loan spell at Feyenoord was so electric there was some fear in Rotterdam that Newcastle may recall the fleet-footed right winger.

A hamstring injury at the end of October knocked Minteh off his stride but the 19-year-old has certainly impressed after making the considerable leap from the Danish top flight to Champions League football in one summer.

Feyenoord boss Arne Slot was particularly astonished after his blistering display against Ajax in October. Minteh made more intensive runs in an hour "than many other boys do in two games" according to the coach.

Nottingham Forest - Remo Freuler (Bologna)

Remo Freuler, Marten de Roon
Remo Freuler has quickly become a fixture of Genoa's team / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Remo Freuler's helter-skelter debut season at Nottingham Forest included a spell as the club's captain but ended in exile. "I think we were on a slightly different wavelength," the former Atalanta midfielder said of his relationship with Steve Cooper.

Now with Nuno Espirito Santo in the City Ground dugout, Freuler could be tempted back to Nottingham. Although, he may need some persuading to leave Thiago Motta's Bologna side which is challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A.

Sheffield United - Harry Boyes (Wycombe)

Harry Boyes
Harry Boyes has never made a senior appearance for Sheffield United / George Wood/GettyImages

The former Manchester City academy product Harry Boyes is embarking upon his fifth loan spell in four seasons.

Yet to make a senior appearance for Sheffield United, the left-sided defender has been a fixture of Wycombe Wanderers' first team this season, lining up in a back-three or four-man rearguard for the League One outfit.

Tottenham - Joe Rodon (Leeds)

Joe Rodon
Joe Rodon has been excellent on loan at Leeds United / George Wood/GettyImages

According to Leeds United boss Daniel Farke, Joe Rodon is an oxymoron of a player. The German manager has hailed Rodon's "old-school attitude" this season but, in the same breath, described him as "a perfect role model of a modern defender".

What may have pricked the ears of Tottenham's Ange Postecoglou was Farke's praise for Rodon's physicality. "Because he is quick and good on the ball and you can defend with him on the high line," the Leeds manager explained. If Rodon does feature for Postecoglou's Spurs, those qualities will be imperative.

West Ham - Flynn Downes (Southampton)

Flynn Downes
Flynn Downes has a proven track record in the Championship / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Lauded as "monstrous" by Southampton manager Russell Martin earlier this season, Flynn Downes has been a regular in midfield for a Saints side that took a three-month unbeaten stretch into Christmas.

The combative midfielder was signed for £14m in 2022 from Swansea City and has underscored his ability to excel in the Championship with this season's loan spell. Whether he can translate those performances to the Premier League - let alone European competition - remains to be seen.

Wolves - Luke Cundle (Plymouth)

Luke Cundle
Luke Cundle has been subtly impressive for Plymouth this season / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Steven Schumacher's front-foot approach while he was at Plymouth Argyle gave most players licence to attack but Luke Cundle was surprisingly thrust into the centre-forward role against Leeds in November.

The versatile midfielder fared well through the middle against the promotion chasers, setting up Plymouth's only goal at Elland Road, but has been quietly impressive from a deeper role for much of the campaign.