Pony Loanees: 7 of the worst loan siginings in Premier League history

Some of the very worst. At least their stay was short.


It’s safe to say the Denis Suarez has hardly set The Emirates alight since his loan move to The Gunners from Barcelona in January. The 25-year-old Spaniard is becoming a cult figure in North London, thanks to fact that he is absolutely useless, being voted one of Arsenal’s worst ever players.

We’ve been dusting down the history books again at Paddy HQ however, and now we proudly present players that make Suarez look like the bargain of the season.

FLORENCE, ITALY – OCTOBER 08: Simone Zaza of Italy looks on during a Italy training session at Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on October 8, 2018 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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The Italian international has always been considered a bit of a show pony and after his “prancing horse” penalty miss in Euro 2016 against Germany, his reputation was confirmed. He did however, score a majestic goal in a pre-season friendly that summer for Juventus against The Hammers in the inaugural match at their new London Stadium home, which was enough to secure him a loan move to East London before the August restart.

Eight appearances and no goals later, West Ham decided that they were not going to trigger the clause to take him on a permanent deal and he was quickly despatched to Valencia for the start of the 2017-18 campaign.


More Italian nonsense went on in West London when QPR decided to take a punt on former Manchester United youngster Federico Macheda on the strength of scoring just one notable goal on his Old Trafford debut against Aston Villa. The son of an Italian ice cream seller, Macheda’s career peaked that afternoon at the Theatre of Dreams and his move to Loftus Road saw him make just three appearances before injuries curtailed his career in the English top-flight. He can now be seen scuttling around the lawless world of lower league Italian football.

Norwich City’s English striker Grant Holt reacts after being tackled by Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road stadium in Norwich, eastern England on December 26, 2012. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)


Quite what possessed the then Villa boss Paul Lambert to take a chance on ageing centre-forward Grant Holt to try to preserve the club’s top-flight status is so much of a mystery that even Hercule Poirot would struggle to find the solution. Cynics would say Lambert had been hitting the pure single malt a little too much prior to making a phone call to Wigan, to ask if his old mucker from Norwich would like to be reunited with him in the Premier League.

Ironically, Villa did avoid the drop in 2014 but no thanks to Holt, who managed just one goal during his time at Villa Park.

FRANKFURT/MAIN, Germany: Brazilian defender Roque Junior celebrates with the trophy is surrounded by photographers after Brazil defeated Argentina by 4-1 the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup football final Brazil vs Argentina, 29 June 2005 at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt. At (C) is Brazilian midfielder and captain Ronaldinho with the Confederations Cup trophy. AFP PHOTO TORSTEN SILZ (Photo credit should read TORSTEN SILZ/AFP/Getty Images)


“Cheer up Peter Reid” is how the song goes so when the former Everton midfielder announced he was bringing a World Cup winning centre-half to Elland Road in 2003, West Yorkshire went into meltdown as speculation mounted as to who this would be. The answer was Brazilian international Roque Junior, who’d played for AC Milan in the Champions League Final against Juventus just months earlier.

Unfortunately, Roque just couldn’t cope with the hustle and bustle of the Premier League and couldn’t understand a fucking word Reid said in the dressing-room. He played seven times for The Tykes, who conceded 24 goals in those games and his parting gift was leading the back-line in a 6-1 hammering by Portsmouth.

Vorskla Poltava Yevhen Selin (L) vies with Standard de Liege’s Nacho González (C) during a UEFA Europa League Group B football match in Poltava on November 3, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Magpies are Premier League leaders when it comes to bad loan moves so when Ignacio Gonzalez arrived from Valencia in 2008, the omens didn’t look good.

Behind the scenes all was not well at St James’ Park with “little” Dennis Wise being given the job as Director of Football. The boss at that time was Kevin Keegan who had returned to the North East to try to work his magic once again, but just four days after Gonzalez arrived, KK boxed up his belongings and bailed out. The Uruguayan played just twice for the Toon and the underlying message here is never take a player when all you have to go on is YouTube footage.

BISHOP AUCKLAND, ENGLAND – AUGUST 09: Santiago Vergini and Lee Cattermole of Sunderland celebrate the opening goal during the pre-season friendly between Sunderland and Udinese at Heritage Park on August 09, 2014 in Bishop Aucland, England. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)


Before Wearside gets too cocky, Sunderland has not been immune to the odd loanee disaster; this can be perfectly summed up by the acquisition of Argentine centre-back Santiago Vergini from Estudiantes in 2014. Despite being utterly inept, The Black Cats even gave him an 18-month extension where he failed to improve and if anything, got gradually worse. His lasting legacy in the Premier League is a superb volley past his own keeper in an 8-0 defeat to Southampton.

MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 18: Antonio Nocerino of AC Milan dejected during the UEFA Champions League group C match between AC Milan and RSC Anderlecht at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on September 18, 2012 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)


We’ll end were we started with another West Ham (and Italian) failure in the shape of midfielder Antonio Nocerino. Despite making over 200 Serie A appearances and picking up a runners-up medal at the 2012 European Championships, Nocerino never really fitted in at Upton Park despite having fellow countryman and super stud Marco Borriello to help him settle into life in the capital.

Boss Sam Allardyce declared that these two would be the new Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano when actually they became West Ham’s answer to Laurel and Hardy. Nocerino picked up as many yellow cards as he did appearances for The Hammers, and suffered the ultimate insult of being replaced in the starting XI by Matt Taylor.

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