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Beat around the Bush

PUBLISHED: 17:26 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:40 24 August 2010

By Chris Crees LOANS or no loans, that is the question. There s undoubtedly an argument for and against them, but in these days of never ending foreign imports, the chances for home-grown talent are undoubtedly hindered. There are exceptions, of course, w

By Chris Crees

LOANS or no loans, that is the question. There's undoubtedly an argument for and against them, but in these days of never ending foreign imports, the chances for home-grown talent are undoubtedly hindered. There are exceptions, of course, with players like Wayne Rooney, but they don't come along that often.

My personal view is that it depends on the club's motives. If they're bringing in a loan player with a view to signing them permanently, then that makes perfect sense for the club and is a good incentive for the player to perform if he's looking for a permanent opportunity.

A great example of this was Emmanuel Ledesma. He arrived in a blaze of glory, scored a hat-trick and all the hype led to his own T-shirt. It all went downhill after that before he finally flew back to Italy. Shame for the lad because he undoubtedly had talent, but at least the club benefited from the 'sale or return' deal and we should be thankful that we didn't throw away two million quid. If anybody is interested, I have a T-shirt for sale.

Another good example of how the loan system has worked in our favour was the signing of Hogan Ephraim. We took him on loan, had a good look and then eventually bought him. You probably wouldn't buy a new car without test-driving it first, so why should a footballer be any different?

Would Ephraim have made an impact at West Ham or got anywhere near the first team for anything other than Carling Cup games? The answer is probably no. Net result is we get a young English talent that we've taken a good look at and the player gets an opportunity to play.

On the downside are those we take on loan with no chance of retaining them and we're all left disappointed. When Michael Mancienne was with us, he signed a new contract with Chelsea, realistically leaving us with no chance to sign him permanently, which in my view was a real shame.

You can't blame him for moving around as he is capable of playing at the highest level, albeit unable to force his way into the current Chelsea line-up. His time will come though.

I have a feeling we're all going to be demanding Adel Taarabt's permanent signature at the end of the season and will probably end up disappointed when he returns to Tottenham having made a real impact.

Whether you approve or disapprove of the loan system, it's there for everybody to use, so we might just as well make the most of it. Be prepared for disappointments, though, if we don't end up with a player we want. On the other hand, whatever happened to Bob Malcolm?


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