Who has impressed out on loan? Six best loan players this season including Gallagher and Guendouzi

There have been a number of successful loan spells in recent years, and that trend has continued this season. We look at the six best loan stars of 2021/22.

With an abundance of talent at Premier League clubs nowadays, an increasing number of players have looked to fight for their spot by impressing out on loan. 

It's particularly been a strategy utilised by Manchester City, who top the charts with 15 players currently out on loan. But, it's also helped clubs in the top flight reinforce their squads with budding talent looking for more game time - 11 Premier League sides are currently providing temporary homes for players.

As we approach the halfway point of the season, Planet Sport provides you with a report of which stars have performed best during their loan spells, both in the Premier Leaue and further afield.

Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)

Conor Gallagher, Crystal Palace, Premier League, 2021

The standout member of this list is Chelsea's Conor Gallagher, who has taken the Premier League by storm this season on loan at Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old has made 17 appearances for the Eagles in all competitions, becoming a crucial asset to Patrick Vieira in the process.

Gallagher has found a welcoming home just nine miles from his parent club, and has slotted seamlessly into the heart of Palace's midfield. As he continues to impress, he's proven to be just as crucial to the side as the man often described as the Eagles' talisman, Wilfried Zaha.

He boasts a Premier League passing accuracy of 82.3% from an average of 33.9 passes per game, and has racked up six goals and three assists along the way. Frankly, his four man-of-the-match awards from just 15 games tells you all you need to know about his impact at Selhurst Park.

Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille)

Matteo Guendouzi in action for Marseille in Ligue Un, Dec2021

English fans will probably remember Guendouzi more for his fight with Neal Maupay than anything he has done with a ball at his feet. His performances this season while on loan in the French Riviera, however, offer up the possibility that upon his return to Arsenal, he will be able to cement a place in Mikel Arteta's side.

He has made 17 appearances in Ligue Un, including three from the bench, scoring two goals and registering three assists during that time. He's proved to be a good option in terms of getting the ball up the pitch, and has been rather adept at drawing fouls too, being awarded 1.5 per game.

Given the ability of Dimitri Payet from set-pieces, that's not a bad trait to have, and Guendouzi has so far slotted into Marseille's side very well. They will transfer to the Europa Conference League in the new year, but Jorge Sampaoli's side are still in the hunt for Champions League qualification next year, and Guendouzi could yet play a vital role in helping them achieve it.

Billy Gilmour (Norwich City)

Billy Gilmour, Norwich City, Premier League

A growing number of Chelsea supporters have taken to calling their academy 'La Cobham' in reference to Barcelona's famed La Masia complex, and although rival fans might scoff, there is growing evidence that the Blues' youth development is as prolific as anywhere in Europe right now.

Gilmour is the second Chelsea prospect on this list, and is spending his 2021/22 season at Norwich. He initially struggled for game time under Daniel Farke, but with Dean Smith at the helm, he's now settling in at the heart of the Canaries' three-man midfield, and has started in their last five Premier League fixtures.

In particular, Gilmour has excelled in set-piece situations - something that his parent club manager Thomas Tuchel will no doubt be delighted by. Plus, he has also proven to be a handy option to patrol in front of the defence, putting in 1.7 tackles per game and averaging almost one interception per 90.

Gilmour is also a fully-fledged Scottish international, and the 20-year-old has performed superbly on international duty this season. That'll please his mother, who is famously a big fan of Rangers, but she's reportedly less impressed by her son's current loan club - she allegedly refused to touch the green parts of the Norwich scarf due to it's association with Celtic.

Pedro Porro (Sporting Lisbon)

Pedro Porro, Sporting Libson, Loan star

Right-sided wing-back Porro is currently in the second season of a two-year loan deal from Manchester City to Sporting Lisbon, and he is excelling in many regards. After scoring five goals from right-back in his first stint, Porro is now backing up his ability with another excellent campaign.

Porro is an excellent crosser of the ball, and displays great aptitude in dribbling too. He is incredibly dangerous from set-piece situations, and has contributed three goals already this season, alongside one assist. He predominantly plays on the right side of midfield in Sporting's 3-4-2-1 formation.

On average, the 22-year-old contributes 1.5 key passes per game, and his influence will be pivotal in Sporting's ongoing battle with Porto at the top of the Primeira Liga. While it may be tough to break into the City first team upon his return, he is certainly giving Pep Guardiola and his backroom staff something to think about.

Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls)

Caden Clark, New York Red Bulls, MLS

There's been much discussion about Red Bull's approach to sport, and in particular their idea of owning several soccer clubs. But whether you love it or hate it - agree or disagree - it gives them the advantage of moving about players to get the best out of them.

Clark is the latest product of the Red Bull academy, and the 18-year-old attacking midfielder impressed enough at the New York Red Bulls to earn himself a move to RB Leipzig in the summer. However, to aid his development, he was loaned back to the Big Apple, where he's shown no signs of feeling the pressure this season.

He performs best in defensive midfield, putting in 1.9 tackles per game, while he has also produced four goals and three assists. He will shortly move on to become a permanent part of Leipzig's plans, and with those sorts of numbers, he could possibly have a big future ahead of him.

Alphonse Areola (West Ham United)

Alphonse Areola, West Ham, Europa League

Before you start shouting about Areola's lack of playing time this season, let's clear that up. There's no denying that he's been made to play second fiddle to Lukas Fabianski since moving to West Ham from French giants PSG in the summer, but in his seven appearances for the Hammers he's shown that he's more than capable of claiming a starting role.

The Frenchman is yet another example of West Ham's major resurgence, and in his seven appearances he's managed an impressive five clean sheets. Two came in the Carabao Cup on West Ham's journey to the quarter-finals, while three others came in the Europa League, where they've also progressed to the knockout stages.

Sure, he is yet to stake a claim as West Ham's No.1, but his stirring performances when given a chance have surely given David Moyes a selection headache in the weeks to come.

READ MORE: Nations League 2022/23: England could be joined in Group of Death by France, Germany and Wales

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