When certain clubs have too many perfectly talented players and not enough room for all of them in the starting XI, those clubs have to make decisions about who to keep around and who to drop. If they send those players out on a temporary loan to other clubs, you could say that they’ve made a decision somewhere in the middle. What might be surplus to requirements for one club could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the club getting him on loan. Therefore, we’ll be counting down the 10 most valuable footballers in the world who are currently playing on loan.
Regardless of each player’s reason for being sent on loan, many of them are there because of the club’s willingness to see them develop in an environment that might not be available for them at their parent club – whether that’s because of lack of playing time thanks to being too far down on the depth chart, or because of inconsistent or lacklustre performances with that club. With all 10 of these players, there’s been a mixed bag of results, with some making the most of their opportunities at the club to which they’ve been loaned. On the other hand, some have kept their inconsistencies alive, making it seem like it’s not the parent club that’s necessarily the problem.
However, all 10 of these players have something in common in the sense that they’re all worth big money, regardless of what their situation is. Whether their loan situation ends up working out or not, one thing’s for certain: those situations are worth trying out, especially for big-name players that could be at least a short-term benefit for your club.
Here are the top 10 most valuable footballers on loan at different clubs, ranked based on their market value according to Transfermarkt, converted to American dollars.
10 Dani Osvaldo -- Market Value: $13.4 million
Perhaps known more these days for his ponytail and his questionable attitude than for his footballing abilities, Dani Osvaldo (… or is it Pablo Osvaldo?) seems to have been enjoying his time on loan at Internazionale from Premier League outfit Southampton. In all competitions for Inter so far, Osvaldo – who has a market value of $13.4 million – has gotten seven goals and five assists, and the Nerazzurri have the option to buy him if Southampton don’t take him back. Since it’s his second loan stint since joining the Saints in 2013, Osvaldo might just take it for consistency’s sake, if nothing else.
9 Yann M'Vila -- Market Value: $16.5 million
A teammate of Osvaldo’s at Internazionale, French defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila also has in common the fact that he’s also playing there on loan, albeit from Russian club Rubin Kazan. Despite Inter having said as recently as late November that they plan on keeping him another year, M’Vila has been strongly linked as of late with Arsenal. His $16.5 million market value will be a bit of a price for the Gunners to have to pay, and the club has also been linked with fellow French central midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, but M’Vila is proving that his skills are good enough for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
8 Gerard Deulofeu -- Market Value: $16.5 million
At 20 years of age, it’ll be a little while before Gerard Deulofeu manages to hold down a spot in Barcelona’s first team. Therefore, it makes sense that the youngster has spent his second year on loan away from the Nou Camp, at Everton last year and this year with Sevilla. That said, Deulofeu has done fairly well with Sevilla this year, scoring one goal and getting four assists as well. Not only that, but he also collected his first Spanish international cap earlier this year against Bolivia. He’s most certainly one for the future, and the fact that his market value is around $16.5 million ain’t too bad, either.
7 Nani -- Market Value: $16.5 million
He’s been doing fairly well on his current loan with former club Sporting Lisbon from Manchester United, but Portuguese international Nani doesn’t seem to be in the plans for the club despite not really having a place at Old Trafford anymore. Nevertheless, he’s been producing a lot for the club, particularly in the Champions League where he put up four goals and two assists in five games despite Sporting crashing out in the group stage. He’s also still worth a fair amount of cash despite his dip in form over the past few years, with a market value of $16.5 million.
6 Alex Song -- Market Value: $19 million
He hasn’t quite made the grade at Barcelona after signing there from Arsenal in 2012, and now Alex Song is back in London on loan with West Ham United following a year where he couldn’t really establish himself as part of the first team at the Nou Camp despite his $19 million market value. Thanks in part to the Cameroon international’s displays with the team this season, the Hammers are now in fifth place in the Premier League table with 31 points after 18 games – impressive for a team that has been in the bottom half of the table for a number of years previously.
5 Javier Hernandez -- Market Value: $19 million
Also coming equipped with a $19 million market value is this Mexican striker who has never quite been able to find a consistent place in the starting XI at Old Trafford, and therefore has been sent on loan to a club where, ironically, it can be even harder to break into a first team. But alas, Javier Hernandez – better known as Chicharito – is currently on loan at Real Madrid and the 26-year-old seems to be making the most of his fairly minimal opportunities at the Bernabeu. With three goals and two assists in seven games, Chicharito’s proving that he can be a consistent goalscorer despite getting an average of 23 minutes per game on the pitch.
4 Ricardo Alvarez -- Market Value: $20 million
He made the 23-man squad for the Argentina side that finished second at the World Cup this past summer, but Ricardo Alvarez has been sent on loan to Sunderland from Italian giants Internazionale. You’d think sending a younger player like Alvarez to a less-heralded club like Sunderland would reap rewards for Inter in terms of his development, at least on paper. The fact that his market value sits at $20 million only emphasizes that. However, he’s only played six league games for the Black Cats, with no goals or assists and an average of 36 minutes each game – far from impressive from someone of his value.
3 Rodrigo -- Market Value: $27.4 million
This Brazilian-born 23-year-old has already received his first cap for the Spanish national team – which he got this year against Luxembourg – and he’s impressed the last few seasons with his parent club Benfica in Portugal. However, the $27.4 million-rated secondary striker Rodrigo has yet to fully find form while on loan at Valencia, getting one goal and two assists in 14 games despite a lot of playing time. Known to some as the cousin of Thiago Alcantara and nephew of 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho, Rodrigo will likely be given plenty more chances to make himself more of a mainstay before returning to Benfica in July.
2 Alvaro Negredo -- Market Value: $33 million
Speaking of Valencia, the club also have a more established Spanish international currently on their books on loan. At the club until July from Manchester City, Alvaro Negredo has had a tougher time than Rodrigo making a solid name for himself, with a goal and two assists in eight games. Despite having also missed out on Spain’s 23-man squad for their disastrous campaign during the 2014 World Cup, Negredo’s market value is an impressive $33 million. Nevertheless, Negredo sits behind the aforementioned Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer on Valencia’s depth chart for forwards, not boding particularly well for his eventual return to the Etihad Stadium.
1 Radamel Falcao -- Market Value: $75 million
Even for a player of Radamel Falcao’s stature, he’s starting to seem like quite the journeyman, from stints with Porto to Atletico Madrid to Monaco and now to Manchester United under new manager Louis van Gaal. His market value of more than $75 million would surely spell a consistent place in the starting XI at any other club, but competing against Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for playing time while on loan from Monaco hasn’t been entirely kind to Falcao – the Colombian has only gotten two goals and three assists in 11 games, mostly after being brought on as a substitute.