As the majority of the European leagues come to a close, Loan Watch bows out for another season.
It’s been a fantastic season for our young loanees, with Karim Rekik, Jason Denayer and John Guidetti all crowned Champions, as well as a host of young talent honing their skills in the professional game.
A stable of 20 loanees have scattered across Europe and North America aiming to make their mark on the beautiful game and stake a claim for the City first team.
One player who has had a remarkable season is Jason Denayer, and he and City teammate Guidetti finally got their hands on the Scottish Premiership trophy this weekend.
Their status as title winners was confirmed some weeks ago, but the ceremonies were completed at Celtic Park at the weekend after the season’s final outing against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Denayer completed the full complement of minutes in the 5-0 rout against Caley for this 44th appearance of the term. Voted Celtic’s Young Player of the Year and collecting plaudits aplenty, the Belgian defender also added six goals – not too shabby for a centre-back.
Unsurprisingly, his campaign has been rewarded with another call-up to Belgium’s senior squad for the European Championship Qualifier with Wales on 12 June.
Wish @Jasondenayer all the best of luck in his career top player gonna be something special pic.twitter.com/v5gzGO21au— cameron simpson (@CameonSimpson) May 24, 2015
Hope denayer does well in the future as well, a great talent who will go far 👌⚽️ @Jasondenayer— Jaimey Maloney (@jaimey_maloney) May 24, 2015
What a player @Jasondenayer has been for us this term, big future in the game 🍀— Conor Diaby McCann (@McCann1967) May 24, 2015
Guidetti was not involved in the game against Caley, but posted a message of thanks to Celtic staff and players on his instagram as he prepares to move on this summer.
The striker had a blistering start to life at Celtic Park and although he slowed down in the second half of the year, he still clocked up 15 goals in 35 appearances for the Bhoys. He also added another 12 assists throughout the season for his teammates and added two medals to his collection.
Meanwhile, Shay Facey’s displays for New York City on the other side of the Atlantic have had boss Jason Kreis purring about the possibility of extending his loan spell.
Facey’s current deal runs out on 30 June, but Kreis has revealed he is interested in holding onto the young defender a little longer.
He said: “We haven’t had any conversations in and around that yet. I think we will very soon.
“From our point of view we would like to see him stay. He’s a quality player who adds a little bit of a different element to our group. We appreciate everything he’s done.”
The England youth international played all 90 minutes on Saturday for NYC, but couldn’t prevent a 2-0 loss away to Real Salt Lake.
However, he believes he is already richer for his experience in MLS.
“Training in a first team environment is a massive step coming from reserve football,” Facey said.
“A league as competitive as MLS is really pushing me and hopefully at some point I’ll move to central [defence] because that’s my preferred playing position, but for now no matter where I play the experience I’m gaining is massive.”
The American season is set to continue until October.
Back in Europe, Divine Naah recovered from injury in time to take his starting place in NAC Breda’s relegation play-off against VVV.
The Dutch outfit are 1-0 up after 90 minutes and the second leg is due to take place on Monday night with the side battling to preserve their Eredivisie status.
Marcos Lopes was not involved in Lille’s final game of the season as he prepares for the U20 World Cup with Portugal.
A key member of the young Portuguese side, Lopes started the 1-0 defeat by their Brazilian counterparts in the final warm-up ahead of the tournament in New Zealand.
In total, the midfielder made 27 appearances for Lille over the course of the season, finding the net three times.
In Spain, Alvaro Negredo came on at half time to help Valencia to a 3-2 triumph over Almeria which secured fourth spot in La Liga. The striker’s season was largely disrupted by injury, but he still managed 34 appearances and six goals for is loan side.
Valencia are due to make the move permanent in the summer under the terms of the agreement.
It was a bad weekend for Bismark Boateng’s Stromsgodset, who went down 4-0 to Haugesund, leaving them ninth in Norway’s Eliteserien.
The Ghanaian played the first half but was sacrificed at the break as the manager looked to make changes.
Godway Donyoh didn’t manage to shake off an injury in time to face Kalmar, and without him his Falkenberg teammates recorded a 3-1 defeat to leave them hovering just out of the relegation places in Sweden’s top division.
Micah Richards was an unused sub as Fiorentina ended up on the right side of a 3-2 thrillier with Palermo. The defender is still struggling with injury but will hope to have some involvement in La Viola’s final game of the season at home to Chievo next week.
He has already turned out 20 times in Fiorentina purple and will be aiming for 21 before departing on summer break.
Finally, Scott Sinclair’s loan move was made permanent in midweek after Aston Villa’s Premier League status was confirmed with one game to spare.