Monday, July 22, 2024

Only the loany – Arsenal’s loan signings listed and rated

Arsenal send plenty of players out loan, but very few come the other way on short-term deals. We’ve put our heads together to list all of the players we’ve signed on loan down the years, and rated their brief spells in North London.

We think we’ve got them all, it’s a surprisingly small amount, but if we’ve forgotten any please leave a comment.

Starting with:

Denis Suarez (Barcelona) – 2018/19

Arsenal negotiated with Barcelona for almost a month to work out a deal which would ensure there was no mandatory purchase clause for the midfielder. The 25 year old arrived at the end of January having played very little for the La Liga champions, and lacked the kind of match fitness that would see him competing for a place in the team.

He picked up a groin injury during a 12 minute cameo against BATE Borisov, and although he made two further substitute appearances, the injury worsened, meaning he never started a single game for the club.

He announced yesterday that his season was over, making it an unsuccessful venture all in all – especially as we had to pay to ensure the deal contained no purchase clause.

You can’t blame a player for getting injured but there’s no doubt this is one of the worst loan deals we’ve made.

Rating: 1/10

Kim Kallstrom (Spartak Moscow) – 2013/14

Arrived in January 2014 to boost our midfield. Medical tests showed he had a broken bone in his back. Arsene Wenger pondered the situation, and said, “The transfer windows shuts in a few hours. It’s impossible to find a replacement. Either I take you or no one.”

So, he took him. The Swede made his debut as a sub in a 2-2 draw with Swansea, Arsenal chucking away a 2-1 lead with a last minute own goal from Mathieu Flamini, but his moment was to come in the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan.

Having just equalised, Kallstrom came on in the 89th minute for Aaron Ramsey, and when the game went into a penalty shoot-out, he stepped up and scored his spot kick, helping the Gunners into the final which we won against Hull to end the nine year trophy drought.

The veteran later described it as ‘the greatest 15 minutes of my life’, and you can read his account of it all in this fantastic piece. For that contribution alone, and how much it meant to him, he rates highly.

Rating: 7/10

Emiliano Viviano (Palermo) – 2013/14

The Italian joined on loan from Palermo as back-up to Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, but the Manuel Almunia lookalike never played a game for the Gunners before joining Sampdoria where he was a regular for four seasons.

All the same, he did give us a fun anecdote as explained by comedian Dara O’Briain in Arsecast Episode 317. As the compere of the Arsenal Charity Ball that year Dara had to auction off a goalkeeping masterclass, an hour on the training ground Szczesny, but more importantly the chance to play at the Emirates Stadium.

Viviano made the first bid!

Rating: 2/10 for the very self-aware comedy.

Thierry Henry (New York Disgustingly Sweet Energy Drink) – 2011/12

“He may be cast in bronze, but he’s still capable of producing truly golden moments.”

The iconic commentary that resonated so strongly when Thierry Henry returned to the club on loan, and scored that goal against Leeds United in the FA Cup. He’d come back on loan from New York Disgustingly Sweet Energy Drink during the MLS off-season, and thrust into a side that was still trying to find its feet again after the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and the supermarket sweep end to the summer transfer window in which five players arrived.

Goal Tales: The Return Of The King – by Tayo Popoola

The striker celebrated that goal like a fan, it remains one of the most well-savoured moments in the history of the Emirates Stadium. In seven appearances during his loan spell he scored twice more – against Blackburn and Sunderland in the Premier League – before heading back to the Big Apple.

Rating: 8/10

Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea) – 2011/12

Signed from Chelsea as part of Arsene’s mad trolley dash in the wake of the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, the Israeli went on to make 25 appearances scoring six times and making three assists. The experienced midfielder was a very useful addition to the squad as we rescued our season to snatch a Champions League place on the last day of the season. His highlight was arguably the late winner off the bench at Villa and he opened the scoring as we beat West Brom 3-2 at the Hawthorns. Many were underwhelmed by his arrival but he quickly won over the terraces even taking over the chant previously assigned to Samir Nasri.

Rating: 7/10

Julio Baptista (Real Madrid) – 2006/07

Signed on loan from Real Madrid in a deal that saw Jose Antonio Reyes go the other way, we assumed Baptista was going to bring steel to our midfield during our debut season at the Emirates. After all, he’d long been a target for Arsene Wenger who wanted the barrel-chested Brazilian as a replacement for Patrick Vieira in the previous two summers. When he landed in England, we expected a box-to-box dynamism, instead we got was a striker who wasn’t very good at scoring goals. In 24 Premier League appearances he scored just three goals. In the Carling Cup it was a different matter. Playing alongside Jeremie Aliadiere he netted four times in a memorable 6-3 win at Anfield and twice in the 5-1 semi-final victory over Sp*rs. Unfortunately, the duo couldn’t repeat their feats in the final as we lost to Chelsea.

Baptista, much like Reyes, wasn’t favourably disposed to life in the UK. In one memorable interview he slagged off everything from teams up north (“I have counted their centre backs booting up to 30 long balls upfield per game”) and the weather (“We’ll get one day of sunshine for every 30 days of rain, and it is driving me to despair”) to the fact English football was too fast for him to even contemplate overhead kicks (“I am Brazilian and I enjoy playing the ball, making clever touches and taking bicycle kicks. Arsene Wenger does not forbid me from doing them, but the game is so fast I don’t even have time to think about them.””)

Unsurprisingly, we didn’t exercise our right to buy Baptista. He moved to Roma the following season and was on the losing side as we beat them on penalties in the Champions League. Now 37, he’s at Romanian side Cluj.

Rating: 5/10

Mart Poom (Sunderland) – 2005-06

The Estonian was signed on loan as cover for Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia, and later signed a short-term permanent deal with the club until the end of that season. He never made an official appearance for Arsenal, but did make the bench for some Premier League and European games.

Fun fact: he sat right in front of me at the Champions League final in Paris in 2006 and we shared a ‘Ah bollox, this is not good’ look when Jens was sent off.

He’s currently the goalkeeping coach for the Estonian national team.

Rating: 1/10

* Thanks to Martin Benson on Twitter for the clarity on this one.

Fabian Caballero (Cerro Porteño) – 1998-99

The Argentine striker only made three appearances, but in an FA Cup game against Preston at Deepdale, played a significant role in an Arsenal win. Not with a goal, but by flattening an opponent with an elbow to the face which allowed Emmanuel Petit to score in a 4-2 win for the Gunners.

He didn’t get the nickname Tyson for nothing. Went on to sign for Dundee, spending four seasons in Scotland, before playing for a host of clubs around the world including spells in Korea, Cyprus, Chile and Paraguay.

Rating: 2/10

* Thanks to Gareth Williams in the comments for the reminder.

Jim Leighton (Man Utd) – 1990/91

The Scottish keeper somewhat bizarrely joined us on a short-term deal from Man Utd in 1991, but didn’t make an appearance. He hates Alex Ferguson though, and refuses to ever speak to his former manager again, so we’ll give him a point for that.

Rating: 1/10

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Loved Benayoun. Another one of those 100%-every-game type of players. I actually completely forgot about Viviano….

Alexander Reuben

Mart Poom?


Dont forget that Benayoun started basically every game vs top 6 opponent that season. I miss him. Great player.
Kim Källström is a Swedish national team legend, and hos radio essay on Summer i P1 (Sommar i P1) is amazing. Read the transcript that is linked here in the article!


Some of us wouldn’t have been too disappointed if he had gotten a 1 yr deal but I guess the age just wasn’t helping at all (think he was a bit injury prone too)!


I liked the goals against Liverpool but my favourite Baptista moment will alway be Arsene thinking he was tired, tried to sub him off, Julio protests then Arsene gestures asking why he was standing everywhere on the field with arms on his waist


Gosh, blogs your mojo must really be tight…all you did was write “haha” and you got 6 likes straight of the shelf, bravo ??


Baptista could be an excellent Moclan in Orville


does anyone remember when baptista and diaby (i think) were both through on goal chasing the ball down and they started trying to knock each other off of the ball. baptista won the ‘duel’ and ended up blazing it over the bar. i may have dreamed this


Did happen, against Aston Villa I think. ‘‘Twas the same game when Baptista shot wild and somehow Diaby managed to turn the ball into the net – if my old brain remembers correct.


I remember that crazy moment too… it was against Bolton…

Niall Shannon

I thought Benayoun would have gotten an 8. He was pivotal in the second half of the season but I guess I understand the 7 due to the fact he didn’t play too often in the PL in the first half

Christopher Wreh

Even on here people questions Blogs’s ratings. Who cares!


Baptista was a beast!

Billy Bob

Anyone who hates ManUre and/or Alex Ferguson is a top top top man or woman in my book

Christopher Wreh

Baptista and Aliadiere that night at Anfield though, what a time to be alive


It’s really amazing what Wenger was able to do with some of the lineups we’ve had when he was going strong.

Kartik Iyer

Andre Santos finished 3 times in top 4! Tells you how talented Arsene Wenger was.

Petit's Handbag

I remember we went through a large part of 06/07 with Aliadiere and Baptista as our only available striking options. Henry, Adebayor and Van Persie all injured.
We’ve been a hugely unlucky club for well over 15 years now.


Anyone who hates Ferguson ……. 10/10.
Good man Jim Leighton!


How you even remember some of these matches…brilliant. Well we’re in the panic loan era now thanks to Raul and Mslintat loading on too many waning older players like Mhkitaryan and Lichsteiner for 90K. Lichsteiner and Suarez have to be up there as some of the more perplexing loans. 1) Lichsteiner – Personally preferred if we tried harder to have convinced Chambers to stay in squad this season. He would have been more than useful as a fullback (HIS NATURAL position for Soton), or as right of back 3 (Competition to Mustafi) or even in midfield (in lieu of Elneny)… Read more »


Pmpl…who’s this guy??? ???????


Santi, we’re talking loanees here, not current squad tactics (no mention of loaning Mustafi out though!)


Mislintat never signed a single player on loan.


Lol this dude is just waiting for the moment to write an essay every time ?

Gareth Williams

Are we really going to ignore Fabian Caballero? The journeyman’s journeyman.



Robert Nicolaisen

Baptista deserves 1/10. He is by far the most inefficient striker I’ve ever seen in an Arsenal shirt. At the end of his loan spell I was certain that we payed him to waste chances.


On the contrary, someone who scores 4 goals at Anfield and 2 against the scum down the Lane gets 10/10 in my book! That League Cup run in 06/07 was probably our most entertaining League Cup run under Wenger’s 22 year reign.


Always thought Davor Suker was a loan, obviously not


Wasn’t he our £1m Anelka replacement? Shortly after a tasty spell at the World Cup/Euros? Or have I just made all that up?


He was ???


He was part of that deal alright, we obviously paid something for him then


I believe Junichi Inamoto was signed on a one year loan in 2001 to boost shirt sales in Japan.


Nope, not a loan…

Gooners & Roses

How we long for player like Benayoun these days, not among the most talented attacking midifielders we ever had, but he will deliver, thats for sure.


On the contrary, he was packed with attacking talents (very direct with intent)…

SB Still

Our loan-in list is quite small because like most top clubs if we liked a player, we take a punt and buy.

However given how thrift we are these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if this list becomes longer over the summer!


Someone tried to make a list of Harry Redknapp’s loan signings, but the Internet ran out of space.


Didn’t we loan Henry twice?



Make Arsenal Great Again

I know this is not a related topic but hear me out. How about we buy the whole of the Ajax squad, except Onana (He looks shaky as fuck), and give them Mustafi and Co? That’s a fair deal, right?


Live in reality much?


Onana was solid today.

Nick Moir

Amaury Bischoff??

Nick Moir

I know we didn’t loan him but Joel Campbell has to be our most loaned out player!

In seven years for the club, he made a whole 23 appearances. He was under contract for longer than Robert Pirès and William Gallas yet made fewer appearances than Scott Marshall, Rémi Garde and John Hartson.


Well done AJAX!!!!!

Fantastic work rate, no one hiding, confident in their abilities, positive going forward, covering for each other at the back.

Far more exciting to watch than us.

Some very very exciting young players in that squad (Van De Bleek, Neres, De Jong, De Ligt) mixed with good quality bargains (Tagliafico, Ziyech, Veltman) and experienced old hands (Blind, Schone, Tadic).

Nothing fancy just good technical ability, and providing each other support for a pass or cover.


They can play that way because there is no pressure on those kids to win, only individual pressure. The big clubs from the big leagues are expected to win against Ajax. And that is why the Ajax team is doing so well imho, they have the belief now and they can play without pressure. They have overachieved and spectacularly so. Brilliant to see.


Wouldn’t mind Van de Beek joining us this summer! One can dream…


Wasn’t there a Uruguay goalkeeper who played 1 game. Then someone told him he wasn’t go to be no. 1 choice and he fucked off. Or did I dream it. I get confused.


That’s him! Well remembered. Did we actually have any paperwork or was it like that time YaYa Toure played against Barnet?

Mesut O'Neill

What about Michal Papadopulos?

Was loaned from Banik Ostrava in the 2003-04 season so surely that makes him an invincible. ?

Managed to play one league cup game apparently

Zambian Gunner

If there is one thing I learnt from the Baptista transfer is to never fret over missed transfers. The season we missed out on him to Real Madrid I was so dejected. It was as good as a done deal and then he snubbed us. The fact that Real snatched him convinced me he was a world class player. Then he came to us and the rest is history.

Mick Malthouse

Generous with Suarez.


Would have loved to see Yossi hang around a little longer than his term at the club myself. Did we not have loan player around the 2000/2001 time, English lad? His name escapes me though but I’m sure he was a loan, played one game and vanished again

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