Henderson, Dele, Spence: A loan from every Premier League club that hasn’t gone to plan…

Ian Watson
Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dean Henderson and Dele Alli have all struggled on loan this season.

For Dean Henderson, Sepp van den Berg, Djed Spence, it wasn’t supposed to go like this. Here are 20 loan players almost certain to be returned to sender.

We’ve gone through the best loanees, now here’s one from every Premier League club who have struggled away from their parent club…


Arsenal: Albert Sambi-Lokonga
It’s been an unproductive season for many of the Arsenal players loaned out to Premier League rivals. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been in, out and all over a relegated side at Southampton, while Cedric Soares has barely played for Fulham. It was going rather better for Lokonga, who played seven consecutive games after Patrick Vieira borrowed him in January. Palace won none and Vieira was sacked. Roy Hodgson doesn’t seem to rate the midfielder since he’s played only twice since: a start in a poor defeat to Wolves, and another five-minute cameo when 2-0 up against the league’s worst side. Lokonga will be up for sale this summer, but who will take him?


Aston Villa: Wesley Moraes 
Remember when Villa made Wesley their record signing at £22million? This season, he’s struggled to get a game for Spanish second division side Levante, scoring two goals in 14 starts, spending most of his time on the bench.


Bournemouth: Gavin Kilkenny
In the same way that it was tough to pick a stand-out for the good loanee list, it’s hard to identify a Bournemouth player that really struggled away from Dean Court. Kilkenny, a Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, toiled at Stoke through the first half of the season, managing only three Championship appearances before Bournemouth parked him in League One from January. He hasn’t fared much better at Charlton, making six starts, his most recent on March 11.


Brentford: Halil Dervisoglu
The Turkey centre-forward played seven minutes on the opening day for Brentford in their draw with Leicester before joining Burnley on deadline day. Since then, he’s managed just 65 more minutes in the Championship – only six since November – scoring a single goal.


Brighton: Aaron Connolly
The Republic of Ireland striker spent the first half of the season at Venezia in Serie B but after playing five games, never played again. He switched to the Venice of the north – Hull – in January but it was the same story. Five appearances, including two goals in a win at QPR, then nothing since the middle of February. Liam Rosenior put his absence down to injuries but Connolly now finds himself at a career crossroads.


Chelsea: Callum Hudson-Odoi
Once one of Chelsea’s great hopes, it was thought a year at Bayer Leverkusen might kickstart the winger’s career, but Hudson-Odoi has struggled in Germany. He hasn’t had a hand in a goal since his debut back at the start of October and has managed only seven minutes in the last three months.


Crystal Palace: Luke Plange
Palace signed Plange for £1million from Derby in January 2022. Since then, across loan spells back with the Rams, Molenbeek in Belgium, and Lincoln City through the second half of this season, he’s scored three goals. Plange failed to find the net at all for the Imps – who beat Charlton and Barnsley to his signature by offering assurances over game time – nor did he offer an assist.


Everton: Dele Alli
Dele Alli was a disaster with Besiktas. He was sent to Turkey by the Toffees at the end of August but by October, the was told he was performing “below expectations” by coach Senol Gomes. He managed 13 appearances in all before returning to Everton with a hip injury. Where now? F*** knows.


Fulham: Rodrigo Muniz
Michael Carrick clearly doesn’t fancy the Brazilian forward. Muniz was a regular for Boro up until the World Cup, but Carrick, appointed at the end of October, has only used the forward once since the turn of the year – and that was a 12-minute cameo in a defeat at Luton.


Leeds: Joe Gelhardt
Leeds were really hoping that Gelhardt would push on at Sunderland but it hasn’t happened for the striker. He has some mitigation. Gelhardt was signed to play with Ross Stewart but the Sunderland forward was injured before the loanee would line up alongside him. So many of Gelhardt’s appearances have come as a lone striker, which doesn’t play to his strengths. Still, he’s scored three goals in 18 appearances and almost got to Wembley, so it’s hardly been a waste.

Leicester: Marc Albrighton
The veteran winger moved to West Brom in January but, by his own admission, he hasn’t brought Premier League quality to the Championship. “I think I could’ve done better in some games, I’m more than honest enough to say that,” he said at the end of February. Since then, Albrighton hasn’t improved, flitting in and out of the side while failing to offer a goal or an assist.


Liverpool: Sepp van den Berg
The centre-back has had a torrid time at Schalke, missing most of the season through ankle and foot injuries. When he tried to return, he scored an own goal and sustained another knock. He returned three games ago for the relegation-threatened side, just in time for a 6-0 shellacking at Bayern Munich.


Manchester City: Liam Delap
“It’s been difficult at times and it’s been good at times,” said the young striker of his season in the Championship, first with Stoke, then Preston. Delap has scored four goals, three for the Potters and one for North End, while getting to grips with having to wait for opportunities from the bench. It’s been disappointing only because many expected the England Under-20 striker to tear up the Championship. How it’s actually gone will perhaps stand him in better stead for the future.


Manchester United: Dean Henderson
Henderson didn’t want to train for Erik ten Hag last summer because he thought the new manager would want to keep him around. So off he went to Forest to show everyone that he’s as good as he thinks he is. Then he got injured and Forest signed a Champions League winner from PSG. Someone will take a punt on Henderson this summer but his career really isn’t going the way he anticipated.


Newcastle: Garang Kuol
Newcastle won’t be that fussed about most of their loanees since there’s little chance of the senior ones returning to Eddie Howe’s squad. But it was hoped Australia winger Kuol, who joined the Magpies last September, would get some valuable first-team experience at Hearts. He has not. He managed one start, which lasted 45 minutes, and hasn’t kicked a ball for the Jambos since nine minutes off the bench in the Scottish Cup on March 11.


Nottingham Forest: Jordan Smith
The 28-year-old goalkeeper went to Huddersfield late in the January window and he’s not got his gloves dirty. Only once did he make the bench for the Terriers. Smith hasn’t made a senior appearance since March 2021 but for some reason was given a new contract at Forest last year. He must make a bloody good brew.

Read more: Amad, Balogun, Bradley among every Premier League club’s loanees of the season


Southampton: Thierry Small
It’s been a weird season for the teenage left-back. “Sometimes you see fantastic things from him and then other times you see horrible things,” said Ralph Hasenhuttl after giving Small a run out in pre-season. He was sent to Port Vale for the first half of the season but returned early having failed to make an impression. Despite that, Spurs were said to be keen in January, but Saints instead dispatched Small to Scotland for six months at St Mirren. The ex-Everton youngster managed only five starts, spending more time on the bench.


Tottenham: Djed Spence
Spence was signed last summer – by the club, not the manager, as Antonio Conte made very clear – before being sent to Rennes in January. He began as a starter then slipped down the pecking order so far that he wasn’t in the matchday squad. Already back at Spurs after suffering a season-ending ankle injury. At least Conte wasn’t waiting to greet him.


West Ham: Thierry Nevers 
The Hammers’ highest-profile loanee, Nikola Vlasic, seems to have found some form just in time to make Torino consider paying the £11million necessary to make it a permanent arrangement. It’s hard to see Bradford pursuing Nevers who, like Mipo Odubeko, has struggled for minutes in the EFL. Nevers started the season in Newport’s XI before slipping to the bench and out of the squad altogether. It’s been a similar story at Bradford where he managed only one start having spent almost two months out of the matchday squad.


Wolves: Goncalo Guedes
Guedes has been a disaster for Wolves. Signed for £27.5million, he generally sulked around Molineux for half a season before being shipped off to Benfica. There, he scored on his debut but f*** all since then aside from a solitary strike in the Portuguese Cup. He’ll be off again in the summer. Whether it’s another loan (this one cost Benfica nothing) or a permanent deal depends on just how big a hit Wolves are prepared to take.