Andrew Slevison takes a look at the best performing Premier League loans at foreign clubs ...
So far we have tackled the five best youngsters out on loan from Premier League clubs and the five best summer buys but now we have identified our Top 5 performed players on loan to clubs outside of England.
The list of candidates is certainly not all that extensive but we have done our best to bring you who we think has performed at the highest level since leaving their English clubs in the summer.
The promising Belgian goalkeeper has picked up where he left off last season with Atletico Madrid.
Courtois made a total of 52 appearances for the Spanish club as they took out the Europa League title and produced a fifth-place finish in La Liga and performed so admirably during his loan from Chelsea that Los Rojiblancos wanted him back for another term.
So far in the 2012/13 campaign, Courtois has kept eight clean sheets in the domestic league from 17 starts as Atletico sits second on the table and he has impressed to the point where Barcelona have reportedly shown interest.
The 20-year old has seen his stocks rise in the past 18 months and it will now cost any club interested around €15million to pry him away from Stamford Bridge.
QPR to Marseille
This is a man many of us love to hate with his outrageous comments and mystifying on-field behaviour but you have to admire the way Barton has gone about his business at Marseille.
Even with his dodgy French-English accent, the QPR midfielder has adjusted well to life in France’s Ligue 1 with his most recent performances earning him Marseille’s Player of the Month award for December.
The 30-year old former Manchester City and Newcastle United man has now made seven league appearances for his new club along with five outings in the Europa League and has impressed enough, both on and off the pitch, to prompt Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo to suggest he may be offered a permanent contract at the end of the season.
“He was described as an animal, but he is just the opposite. He is funny, intelligent, and he fights for victory,” Anigo told L'Equipe.
“We can see that the team has been lifted by his competitive spirit. He is now established as a leader in our group.
“He is very happy here, maybe he has found the right club for him. Should he desire (to stay) it could be very good. We have a very good relationship with his club QPR.”
21-year old attacking midfielder de Bruyne has been in brilliant form for Werder Bremen – so much so that they do not want him to leave.
The Chelsea youngster was loaned to the Bundesliga club immediately after he joined from Genk in the summer and has so far scored four goals and provided five assists in 19 league appearances for Bremen.
de Bruyne has reservations about returning to Stamford Bridge next season as he does not want to sit on the bench which is something Bremen boss Thomas Schaaf is also keen to avoid.
“It would be very sad to see such a player leave so quickly,” Schaaf told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
“But it will obviously depend upon the policy of Chelsea.
“Our role is to help him reach a level which one day means he will be an undisputed starter at Chelsea. And I believe he has the qualities, he just needs to be a bit more mature.
“This allows us to take advantage of his enormous potential, it remains to be seen until when, but I hope we won’t see him go back in the near future.”
Santa Cruz may come as a surprise to some of you but he has begun to turn the corner whilst with Malaga.
31-year old Santa Cruz has netted four of his league goals from the bench and has also added two more in the Copa del Rey to lead Malaga’s scoring charts.
He may not have much of a future at City, or in England, but Santa Cruz may yet have the last laugh as he and his Malaga teammates prepare to take on Porto in the Champions League Round of 16 after topping their group.
Newcastle United to St Mirren
The final name on the list is much less low profile than the others but I feel Dummett is worthy of a mention.
The 21-year old Geordie-born left-back spent the first half of the season with Scottish club St Mirren and quickly developed his game with assured performances in defence.
Dummett made a total of 19 appearances for the Buddies, scoring two goals, and improved so much during his time away that Magpies Alan Pardew handed him a Newcastle debut in last weekend’s losing FA Cup tie at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Despite the defeat, Dummett was absolutely thrilled to get the nod for his very first match in a Toon shirt.
“I am a local boy and every local boy wants to play for the club,” he said.
“Andy Carroll and Steven Taylor are local boys, and they did the same. I want to play for the club for as long as I can.
“I was delighted to make my debut.
“I have been on loan for four months. I have experience there and I was happy to come back and make my full debut.
“Hopefully, there is more to come.
“I want to show the manager I have come back a better player.
“It was good being on loan – I played 19 games and I am sharper and match fit.”