As recently promoted sides look to strengthen ahead of their season in the top flight, and mid-table teams reshuffle in an attempt to stay competitive while being stripped of their top talent, many will be looking to bring in players on loan. A cursory review of the loans in the EPL from last term quickly turns up two very prominent players who could again be available this season and one out of favour Liverpool player who should be able to replicate these numbers if sent on loan. Danny Welbeck of Manchester United/Sunderland and Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea/Bolton Wanderers were each important to their temporary clubs success last term. Liverpool’s David N’Gog could be equally valuable this term.
Welbeck, the 20 year old Englishman of Ghanaian decent, was excellent for Sunderland in a year that also saw him receive his first Senior cap at Wembley in March. For a Sunderland side that relied on 3 players to provide the sum total of their attack – Welbeck was a welcome addition. Though he only played 1,768′ for the Black Cats he got into 26 matches (21 as a starter) and contributed 6 goals and 1 assist. That is actually remarkably similar to Darren Bent’s half season where he played 1,749′ scoring 8 goals with 0 assists. Welbeck ended the season third leading scorer behind Bent’s 8 and Gyan’s 10. He also performed exceptionally in working passes, especially in the attacking half.
Daniel Sturridge was loaned to Bolton for the final 4 months of 2010-11. In the previous 6 months he had played just 146′ for Chelsea in 13 substitute appearances. He took an instant liking to Wanderers, scoring in each of his first four matches and netting 8 total goals in 972′. Sturridge took an astounding 43 shots (19 on target) at 44% accuracy and led Bolton to a 5-1-6 record in the 12 matches he played. Perhaps unsurprisingly in the two matches he missed Bolton lost away to Fulham and Blackburn and failed to score a single goal.
These two players were not just hawks in front of goal but contributed to build up play. Welbeck completed 78.7% of his passes while Sunderland as a whole completed just 68.5%. He did most of his work in the attacking half where he managed 353/461 or 76.5% completed. Sturridge played a slightly different role for Bolton, but was still active in making passes. He attemped 232, of which 183 were in the attacking half. Sturridge was also slightly less successful than Welback here, completing 167 passes total and 124 in the attacking half. N’Gog plays somewhere between the two and that is reflected here with his minutes per successful pass more closely in line with Welbeck, while his pass accuracy is more in line with Sturridge.
|Minutes||Pass Attempt||Pass Completed||Pass %||Min/Pass|
Additionally, Welbeck was more economical with his shots than Sunderland as a whole. The Black Cats took 532 shots (154 on target) with just 28.9% accuracy. Welbeck himself took 54 of those shots (18 on target) at 33.3% accuracy. Danny did lose possession 98 time but was efficient with his tackled winning 41 of 53, and intercepted 30 passes. As we noted above, Sturridge assaulted opponents nets following his loan. His 43 shots and 8 goals identify him as the greatest goal scoring threat out of the trio discussed here. Striking the ball at 44% accuracy led to him scoring a goal for every 121:30 that he was on the pitch. No one, not even Sturridge himself this year, can be expected to maintain a pace that would be good for more than 26 goals in a full EPL campaign.
At club level the situation for Welbeck and Sturridge is obviously a bit different than for that of N’Gog. Home grown players, or those who are English, seem more likely loaned domestically than those from other countries. N’Gog is actually not much older than the other two (many may think him older than his 22 years) and perhaps has not had ample time to prove himself and improve his play while at Anfield. Though a permanent move away seems the more rumoured, Liverpool have not found a taker to meet their valuation for the Frenchman and a season long loan to a mid-table club (hold the joke on LFC being a mid-table club) could provide David with a stage to display his talents. Certainly the stock of Messrs. Welbeck and Sturridge skyrocketed with their outstanding displays on loan and N’Gog could well reap similar benefit.