Lacazette, Neves and a Man City returnee in five multi-club loan deals in January

Will Ford
Alexander Lacazette, Ruben Neves and Aleix Garcia
Alexander Lacazette, Ruben Neves and Aleix Garcia are Premier League loan options for multi-club owners.

The 20 Premier League clubs voted in favour of banning associated party transactions on Tuesday but the two-thirds majority required for a rule change wasn’t met, meaning Premier League owners are able to pinch players from foreign clubs they co-own to bolster their squads in January.

Reports have focused on Newcastle being the great beneficiaries owing to the Public Investment Fund owning multiple Saudi Pro League clubs as well as the Magpies, but Arsenal, Brentford, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and West Ham also have an advantage, though some are more likely to benefit from the club twinning than others.

While Crystal Palace have Lyon and Augsburg as bedfellows, Arsenal are unlikely to call upon support from Colarado Rapids to boost their title challenge. 

Anyway, we’ve looked at five possible loan moves to the Premier League from associated parties in January.


Ruben Neves: Al Hilal to Newcastle
Quite possibly the transfer rumour that led to the vote in the first place, it’s now claimed that Neves is perfectly happy in Riyadh and ‘there have so far been no approaches or negotiations’ from Newcastle.

But they are admirers and many see the former Wolves man as the ideal replacement for Sandro Tonali, and quite possibly an upgrade given the Italian’s downturn in form before his betting ban.

The Athletic claim ‘barring an unforeseen turn of events, he will continue to represent the most decorated club in Asia’ but that unforeseen turn could presumably be as simple as Newcastle declaring their interest and the claim that there has been no discussion as yet over a transfer isn’t as telling as in normal circumstances, given they would essentially be negotiating with themselves. U-turns, standoffs and impasses are unlikely.


Alexandre Lacazette: Lyon to Crystal Palace
Palace spent a significant wedge on Matheus Franca over the summer but Roy Hodgson clearly doesn’t think the 19-year-old is ready for consistent Premier League football – he’s featured for just 31 minutes thus far. Odsonne Edouard has been the striker of choice this season, and has a decent return of five goals in 11 games, but the Eagles as a whole have managed just 12 in 12 games. They could do with a goalscoring boost.

It would seem odd for the Premier League-blinkered among us to think Lacazette could be the solution to their profligacy given he was roundly criticised in his final season of Arsenal – despite his good form – for his lack of goals. But the 32-year-old managed 31 goals in 39 appearances having returned to Lyon last season, picking up where he left off in Ligue 1.

He’s got quality and great Premier League experience, and perhaps above all else, feels like a Crystal Palace player. His link-up with Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise would be a joy.

Lyon are unlikely to let their captain leave given they’ve plummeted to the bottom of Ligue 1 this season, but it’s for exactly that reason that Lacazette may fancy a return to the Premier League. He’s too old and good for that sh*t.

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette returned to Lyon in 2022 after five years at Arsenal.

Aleix Garcia: Girona to Manchester City
In any previous season in the last decade it would have been ludicrous to suggest any Girona player would move to Manchester City. In the time it’s taken City to win seven Premier League titles, Girona have spent just two seasons in the Spanish top flight. They broke their transfer record over the summer by signing Artem Dovbyk from SK Dnipro-1 for €7.75m, while City bought three players for a combined £200m. Girona have been less City’s little brother since they were bought by the City Football Group in 2017, more the goldfish that sits on their trophy-laden mantle.

But now, incredibly, having beaten Tenerife in the promotion playoffs last season to return to La Liga, they sit above both Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table on 34 points from 13 games. Key to their unbelievable run has been former City midfielder Aleix Garcia.

Garcia was signed from Villarreal B to join the City U21 squad in 2015 but only managed nine appearances for the senior side. He spent a couple of seasons on loan at Girona while on City’s books and returned in a permanent move from Eibar in the summer of 2021.

He’s got three goals and four assists for Girona this term, captaining the side either from a role similar to that of Ilkay Gundogan, which Pep Guardiola has tried – not hugely successfully – to fill this season with a mixture of Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, or in defensive midfield, where cover is required for Rodri that Kalvin Phillips has failed to provide.


Konstantinos Fortounis: Olympiacos to Nottingham Forest
Morgan Gibbs-White’s five goals and eight assists saved Nottingham Forest from relegation last season. He was one of many, many signings at Forest, but quite possibly one of the best in the Premier League as a whole. He’s not been at the same level this season.

We’re not suggesting he should be dropped, but he often looks exhausted, perhaps just from the football but also possibly because of the huge burden of creativity he carries on his shoulders. Evangelos Marinakis could look at a short-term deal for Fortounis to ease the load.

The attacking midfielder’s 90 goals and 96 assists in 311 appearances has earned him legend status at Olympiacos, and he shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 31 with seven goals and nine assists in 17 games this term. It would be mighty difficult to prize the captain away with the promise of a role as Gibbs-White’s understudy, mind you.


Cameron Puertas: Union SG to Brighton
Neat though it would be to see Alexis Mac Allister’s brother Kevin play for Brighton, Puertas would be a better asset to Roberto De Zerbi.

The 25-year-old’s 14 assists this season have played a huge hand in taking Union SG to the Jupiler Pro League summit and he would be a useful alternative to Adam Lallana in an attacking midfield role, particularly as it’s still unclear when Julio Enciso might be fit to return for the Seagulls.

Beyond his brilliant eye for a pass, Puertas is tenacious in the tackle, frequently winning possession high up the pitch, and is comfortable on the ball in tight areas. De Zerbi would love him.