With the January transfer window coming to a close, it’s time to look at the individuals who left their respective clubs last summer in order to achieve more game time.
Despite a lot of money being spent around that period, these players have been fantastic during their loan spells so far this season.
Although his Tottenham career hasn’t gone the way he would have expected it to, completing 20 league appearances in his debut season before returning to Sevilla on loan last January, Federico Fazio is enjoying his time at Serie A side AS Roma, who are just a point behind first-place Juventus.
Luciano Spalletti’s men have conceded only 18 goals this season, the second best record in the league as Fazio looks to have regained his confidence as well as showing it through superb and commanding performances week in and out.
The way he has become a vital part to Giallorrossi’s defence has been impressive, and the club are reportedly looking to turn the loan deal into a permanent one.
Being regarded as one of the best centre-backs this season in Serie A, if not the best, Fazio has become a calm and consistent defender since the beginning of the campaign.
Already being recognised as a leader at the age of 20, Jesus Vallejo is without a doubt loving his time at Eintracht Frankfurt, making 17 appearances so far this season.
Being a rock in defence for a side that’s only conceded 15 league goals, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will certainly be keeping tabs on the youngsters development for the remainder of the campaign.
With Real starting to have injury problems in their ageing defence, it would not be a surprise to see Zidane offering Vallejo a squad role during the summer.
The Spanish under-21 international instantly became a regular starter for the Bundesliga side as he slotted into the three-man defence with ease.
After not being included in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the forthcoming season, Nabil Bentaleb joined Schalke on loan in August with a big point to prove. The Moroccan international has done that as he has currently produced four goals and two assists.
Making one of the two central midfield positions his very own, Bentaleb is thriving from the advance role given to him by manager Markus Weinzierl.
Bentaleb has been one of the little bright sparks even though it’s not hard to be a stand out in a very average team, it must be said.
The loanee has become a growing influence at the Veltins-Arena and is playing his best football in Germany.
According to German newspaper Bild, they believe that the club will be looking to agree a fee around €19 million to sign Bentaleb on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
Although his time at Arsenal has been disrupted by injuries, Jack Wilshere’s move to Bournemouth at the time came as a surprise, but moving away from the spotlight has allowed him to get the game time he needs which has seen him deliver consistent performances.
Becoming an integral part to Howe’s side this season, Wilshere has made 17 appearances for the Cherries which is a huge boost for the playmaker as he only completed three league games last campaign for the Gunners and 14 games in the season before that.
Also, he has completed more key passes (25) than any other Bournemouth player in the squad.
Wilshere was always known to be a talented player and has shown this season that he could yet fulfill that potential even if his future at Arsenal remains undecided.
Just like Vallejo, Marcos Llorente is another fantastic gem at Real Madrid who has a bright future ahead of him. It was quite a risk for the club to let him go on loan in the summer without adding a recall clause in his contract, since there was no backup option to Casemiro, but the defensive-midfielder is thriving at newly-promoted Alaves.
Llorente has completed more tackles (69) and interceptions (48) as well as attempting more passes (906) than any other Alaves player this season.
With his father and great uncle playing for Madrid in the past, the 21-year-old will surely be aiming to compete with Casemiro in the summer for the defensive-midfield spot in the first team.
Alaves are currently sitting in 12th place and have only conceded 20 goals, with Llorente being recognised as the key man in front of the defence.
Once Pep Guardiola became the manager of Manchester City, changes were expected. However, Samir Nasri told the French media that the manager wanted him to stay but he chose to move to a team that would offer him regular first-team football.
Despite being known for his laziness and poor attitude during his time at City, Nasri has instantly become a key player in the middle of the park for Sevilla, who are in second place in La Liga.
In his spell at Andalusia, Nasri is back to playing in his favourite position as a central midfielder, where he can dictate the play.
The Frenchman deserves credit for deciding to play in another league and not accepting a role on the bench at City. Utilised in a dynamic role, La Liga fans are starting to see the Nasri that we all saw at Arsenal.
Similar to Schalke, Valencia have been suffering from problems too especially on the financial side of the club, which has led the side with no option but to sell or loan their key players in the summer.
One of those individuals turned out to be Pablo Piatti, who wasn’t a regular starter under any of the four managers at Valencia last season.
Now enjoying his time with La Liga rivals Espanyol, Piatti has become the main man in the final third for Quique Sanchez Flores’ team.
Registering six goals and seven assists in 14 league appearances so far this campaign, the 27-year-old has arguably been one of the signings of the season and is finally playing a good amount of games without getting injured.
On top of that, the Argentine winger has produced more key passes (19) than any other Espanyol player in the squad, showing how good his decision-making is whilst in attack.
Following the managerial arrival of Jose Mourinho, Andreas Pereira’s decision to go out on loan has been a huge positive for both parties.
Receiving game time week in and out has helped his confidence and development as a player, he also revealed not long ago that Mourinho keeps in contact with him constantly to see how he is doing.
Although La Liga side Granada have won only one league game so far this season, Pereira is having a fantastic experience in Spain, completing excellent performances against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, despite his side losing in both fixtures.
The Brazilian has been working hard to improve physically, as he aims to return to Manchester in the summer with the dedication to succeed at the highest level.
Whilst been regarded as one of the most talented player to come through the youth ranks at United, Pereira has been making waves quickly within a Granada squad that seem to be lacking the right confidence.
After signing for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2015, Luciano Vietto failed to make an impression in his first season as he struggled in front of goal. It wasn’t easy as it had seemed as the 23-year-old couldn’t cope with Diego Simeone’s intensive training within his first few months at the club.
Also, the manager failed to get the best out of a talented forward in Vietto, which was the similar outcome for previous attackers like Mario Mandzukic and Alessio Cerci.
Meanwhile, on his loan spell at Sevilla, Vietto has immediately flourished under Jorge Sampaoli, who has given him a straightforward role in his system.
The Argentine has netted six times and completed three assists in 15 league appearances so far this season, scoring more goals for Sevilla than he did so during the entire season at Atletico Madrid.
The fact that Vietto has settled into life in Andalusia instantly and isn’t expected to return to Los Rojiblancos in the summer, could see Sevilla signing him on a permanent basis at the end of the campaign.
According to recent reports, the club will have to fork out €20 million if they would like him to stay beyond this season, which could prove to be a bargain if he carries on producing all the goods.
At the age of 19 Enes Unal, who is currently on loan from Manchester City, is scoring goals for fun in the Eredivise with FC Twente.
The striker has shown that he’s the real deal. Since joining the Citizens in 2015, the Turkish international is yet to make his senior debut for the Premier League side.
Unal is recognised as a complete forward, able to go past players while also being competent at holding up the ball and playing others in.
Not only that, but his positional awareness is very impressive as he’s known to be at the right place at the right time.
So far this season, the former Bursaspor player has ten goals and two assists to his name in 17 league appearances.
With Sergio Aguero in decline and no longer a certain starter, Unal might be granted the opportunity to play for the first-team next year if he carries on dominating the Dutch league like he has done so far.