The money in football these days has been getting sillier and sillier with every passing transfer window.
Records are being broken left right and centre after mind-boggling TV deals and foreign investment allowed even the supposed smaller clubs to flex their financial muscles.
But sometimes a subtle loan move can prove much more astute business.
This summer, albeit with sizeable fees if they make their moves permanent, we’ve seen James Rodriguez and Douglas Costa complete temporary switches to Bayern Munich and Juventus respectively.
So which are the most successful loan moves in history?
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Atletico Madrid)
Chelsea signed Belgian goalkeeper Courtois from Genk in 2011 when he was just 19-years-old in preparation for Petr Cech’s decline.
He was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid where he soon developed into one of the finest shot-stoppers in Europe.
In the three years he spent in Spain, Courtois won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Europa League and reached the Champions League final.
Edgar Davids (Juventus to Barcelona)
Davids’ well-travelled career took him very briefly to Spain in 2004 – and it proved a roaring success.
Fellow Dutch compatriot Frank Rijkaard was under pressure as manager when Davids arrived halfway through the season with the club struggling in La Liga.
But the midfielder sparked an upturn in fortunes, with the Catalans eventually finishing second to Valencia but more importantly above arch rivals Real Madrid.
Davids’ spell at Barca may have been short-lived, but some feel his influence provided the catalyst to their domination in Spain and across Europe in the mid 00s.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to West Brom)
Lukaku is one of many stellar players to have failed to make the cut at Chelsea, but his loan move to West Brom in 2012/13 showed the Premier League how good he was.
His hat-trick on the final day of the season in the crazy 5-5 draw with Manchester United took his season tally to 17 – the sixth highest in the Premier League.
It wasn’t enough to convince Jose Mourinho to give Lukaku a go at Stamford Bridge, but he’s got his man now after his £75m move to Manchester United this summer.
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool to Crystal Palace)
Despite being arguably Liverpool’s best centre-back under Jurgen Klopp Sakho’s off the field antics didn’t sit well with the Reds manager.
As a result he was alienated from the first team before Palace offered him an escape route last season.
It proved a masterstroke, as in eight appearances with Sakho Palace lost just once and he was duly shortlisted for their Player of the Season award.
Fernando Morientes (Real Madrid to Monaco)
One of European football’s biggest regrets, maybe?
Morientes headed to the south of France in 2003 after seeing his playing time in the Spanish capital reduced.
It backfired for Real though, with Morientes firing Monaco to the Champions League final – and scoring against his parent club along the way – with nine goals in the competition.
Christophe Dugarry (Bordeaux to Birmingham City)
You have to be pretty special to get inducted into a club’s Hall of Fame after just 15 appearances.
Dugarry – a 1998 World Cup winner – joined hapless Birmingham in 2003 after spells at AC Milan, Barcelona and Marseille.
But his cult status was cemented in the Midlands, where five goals in four games took Birmingham from the Premier League relegation zone up to the safety of 13th.
Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea to Bolton)
Chelsea, yet again, were the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to loaning talent to Premier League clubs in 2011.
Sturridge wasn’t getting the opportunities to play in his preferred role through the middle at Stamford Bridge, but at Bolton he got just that.
He bagged eight goals in 12 appearances, including an injury-time winner against Wolves on his debut.
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