The Premier League has seen some strange loan signings over time. Whether it be players arriving from bizarre clubs, players departing to clubs you never thought they'd sign for and in some cases, moves that just make absolutely no sense.
Let's take a look now at some of the weirdest and wackiest loan moves we have seen in recent times. Brace yourselves.
Mauro Zárate (Al-Sadd to Birmingham City - 2007)
We start with Argentine forward Mauro Zárate, who was on a mammoth contract living it up in the sunshine of the Middle East. But after playing just six league matches for Al-Sadd, he decided to hot foot it to Birmingham, of all places. Quite what the Blues' scouts were doing watching Qatari league football, we'll never know.
As far as football moves go, this is literally swapping a desert island for well, we'll let you use your imagination. Despite scoring twice against Manchester City, Zárate couldn't prevent the club from being relegated and his short stay was soon at an end.
Julien Faubert (West Ham to Real Madrid - 2009)
"His agent should be knighted by the Queen" pundit Paul Merson once acclaimed. Winger Julien Faubert had two injury plagued seasons at West Ham where he'd failed to score a single goal in 32 appearances. So who comes calling in January 2009? Only the biggest football team on the planet.
To this day, nobody can believe that Real Madrid's board sanctioned the move, let alone poor Alfredo di Stefano, who was paraded in front of the media next to the Frenchman. To make matters worse, Faubert famously fell asleep on the substitutes bench halfway through an actual game, and also missed a training session because he thought he'd been the given day off. Ahh.
Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal to Juventus - 2012)
Nicklas Bendtner's latest Instagram post. ?♂️ pic.twitter.com/rhcE2qC7ke— 90min (@90min_Football) July 30, 2018
Ah Lord Bendtner. The gift that just kept on giving. This chapter in the career of the Danish striker is perhaps the most mad. Off the back of eights goals in 30 games for relegation threatened Sunderland, where he had been on loan the season before, Bendtner left Arsenal for Italian champions Juventus. I mean, what were I Bianconeri thinking?
Among his many failings were being arrested for drink driving back home in Denmark, while out injured, as well as Juve hilariously announcing they hadn't sold a single shirt with his name on. He played just 11 games, didn't score and promptly left with his tail between his legs.
Joey Barton (QPR to Marseille- 2012)
It’s five years to the day since Joey Barton played his first game for Marseille.— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) September 20, 2017
The memory of his fine French accent lives on… ?? pic.twitter.com/ececNr7sVU
Oh Joey. It could have been so very different had you not made a prat of yourself in the first press conference with that shocker of a French accent. Barton had actually joined Marseille looking to get his career back on track, after several slips of the tongue and ill discipline - to say the least - cast him adrift in England.
After serving a 12-game European ban for his infamous explosion of rage against Manchester City at the end of the previous English season, Barton actually didn't play that badly for his new team. But once again events off the pitch overshadowed promise on it and you're left wondering why on earth the Ligue 1 club's PR team thought this was a good idea.
Toby Alderweireld (Atlético Madrid to Southampton - 2014)
Did Toby think he was still at Atlético because of the similar home kits? Who knows, but it was certainly a strange move when the highly rated Belgian defender left Champions League finalists Atlético to join mid-table Southampton in the Premier League.
In hindsight, it was a serious bit of business for Southampton, whose side also contained the likes of Sadio Mané and Dušan Tadić that season. There was a lot of legal wrangling over who gained financially from the deal that eventually saw Alderweireld join his former Saints manager Pochettino at Spurs, but the Premier League were the main winners.
Steven Caulker (QPR to Liverpool - 2016)
This is the one time that Jürgen Klopp really lost the plot. Centre back Caulker was on loan at Southampton from Loftus Road for the first part of 2016/17 season where he had only played eight times, the most recent being in a 6-1 defeat to...you guessed it, Liverpool.
So it made perfect sense that he should move to Anfield, right? What came next was just as funny as it was weirdly effective. Klopp decided that Caulker was actually better suited to an auxiliary striker role off the bench, so for three consecutive game he was shoved up top late on, Amazingly, it worked - as he helped set up Adam Lallana's winner in a barnstorming 5-4 win at Norwich.
Joe Hart (Manchester City to Torino - 2016)
It's a lonely life being a goalkeeper sometimes. Joe Hart was England No.1, playing in the one of the most exciting teams in Europe and looked set to go down as one of the greats. Then Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad and sent him packing.
While it didn't come as a huge shock that he wasn't Pep's cup of the tea, it was certainly eyebrow raising when Hart chose humble Torino in Italy as the place to resurrect his career. Plenty of Premier League clubs were interested and he's probably regretting the move now, as it did nothing for his reputation.
Fabio Borini (Sunderland to AC Milan - 2017)
Former Liverpool and Chelsea winger Fabio Borini had just scored two goals in 26 games for Sunderland as the Black Cats were relegated from the Premier League. Hardly putting himself in the shop window. But remarkably AC Milan took him onboard in 2017.
And actually, he didn't do too badly. Playing mainly as a wing-back, Borini hit five goals and contributed seven assists in 44 games as Milan finished sixth in Serie A, also making the Coppa Italia final.
Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich to Swansea - 2018)
And finally, one of the weirder moves of recent times. It made sense from a managerial perspective as Swans boss Paul Clement had worked with Sanches at Bayern but this was a guy who had lit up Euro 2016 as a teenager for Portugal, winning Young Player of the Tournament.
So when he swapped the German champions for humble Swansea City, you could tell something had probably gone wrong. And it had. In 15 games, he contributed absolutely nothing, was hooked off at half time against Chelsea for being non-existent and literally passed the ball to the advertising hoardings because he thought it was a teammate. Is now turning things around at Lille, thankfully.
Source : 90min