Rating every Middlesbrough loanee since 1994/95

With the loan deadline looming, I decided to look back on every Boro loan signing since the 1994/1995 season. Why that season? Because that’s when I started watching Boro, and it gave me an excuse to include Uwe Fuchs.


David Winnie from Aberdeen (one month): I didn’t even know who he was or that he ever played for Boro.

Uwe Fuchs from SC Fortuna Köln (5 months): An absolute legend, a completely unknown striker who became a cult hero for his goals that helped us to promotion. Fans begged him to stay but the club would rather sign Nick Barmby. Hard to imagine ever finding a loan signing like this ever again.


Michael Thomas from Liverpool (one month): After two and a half loanless seasons, Bryan Robson decided to sign Michael Thomas after watching Fever Pitch one night. By then he was just an ageing anonymous midfielder who make 10 appearances in all competitions. 


Juninho from Atletico Madrid (8 months): You might have heard of this little fella. Boro’s favourite adopted son returned home from Spain for half a season. By now he’d lost a bit of his magic, but still had enough in his locker to wow the Riverside. One of the highlights was his goal against Man Utd in a 7-goal thriller. He would later return to the club for good in 2002 and 20,000 fans turned out to see his comeback in a reserve game.


Franck Queudrue from Lens (8 months): Another low key signing who became a cult hero. French Franck established himself as one of the best Boro left backs of the last 20 years. His uncompromising tackles and forays forward made him a fan favourite. He signed permanently at the end of the season, went on to make nearly 200 appearances and won Boro’s only major trophy.

Benito Carbone from Bradford (3 months): Surprisingly good, providing much needed creativity and a link between midfield and attack. At every game fans urged the club to sign him permanently, but sadly the pleas were ignored.


Doriva from Celta de Vigo (season): Doriva was another of those unknown gems. In his initial loan spell he only made 5 appearances but obviously impressed as he was signed permanently the following season. He went on to make 100 appearances over the next 3 seasons, including playing a big part in the league cup triumph and UEFA Cup run. He was the midfielder grafter who did all the dirty work to allow the array of attacking talent to do their thing.

Geremi from Real Madrid (season): Definitely the best free kick taker I’ve ever seen for Boro, and one of the best right wingers. He impressed in his loan spell, but Boro wouldn’t sign him permanently because they’d spunked all their cash on Massimo Maccarone.

John Eustace from Coventry (one month): Most pointless loan ever? Sadly he would later have plenty of competition.


Gaizka Mendieta from Lazio (season): Fair to say it was a bit of a shock when £40 million pound man Mendieta rocked up at Boro. But we’re glad he did. At times Mendieta was majestic and a joy to watch. He played in Boro’s league cup final victory and joined on a permanent deal the following season. Sadly in the following seasons his form and fitness faded and he left on a sour note. But nobody can forget the time he tore Man Utd a new one.

Danny Mills from Leeds (season): Right back has always been a problem position for Boro but in 2003-2004 they got it spot on with the signing of Mills. He was hard as f*** and was one of three loan players in the league cup final side.

Bolo Zenden from Chelsea (season): Started off as a winger but moved to left back then a central role where he struck up a really good partnership with Stewie Downing. Scored one of the worst penalties ever in the League Cup final.


Jonathan Woodgate from Real Madrid (season): We’ve been privileged to see a few truly world class players at our club and Woody was one of them. Signed by Southgate to replace himself in the side he added a touch of class and composure to what could have been a tough transitional season. He joined permanently at the end of the season but only stayed one more year before joining Spurs. He later rejoined the club in the Championship and is now part of the first team coaching set up. Truly one of our own.


Marlon King from Wigan (5 months): When King joined on loan, Boro were already on the slippery slope to relegation. Signing King was like putting on oily slippers to climb away from danger. He scored a couple of goals but mostly looked useless and at the end of the season was convicted of sexual assault.


Sean St Ledger from Preston (3 months): St Ledger was one of the hottest properties in the Championship when he joined recently relegated Boro. He struggled at first but settled into a decent defender who even scored a couple of goals. Was due to join permanently in January but Gordon Strachan decided he wasn’t Scottish enough so cancelled the deal.

Caleb Folan from Hull (3 months): Useless lump of a striker who made one single appearance in a 5-0 home defeat to West Brom.

Marcus Bent from Birmingham (3 months): Seen as something of a coup until everybody realised they had the wrong Bent.

Dave Kitson from Stoke (one month): The not-so-secret footballer was one of a number of journeyman strikers who joined online that season. He actually scored goals and was quite useful.

Isaiah Osbourne from Aston Villa (3 months): A ‘continuity player’ according to Gordon Strachan. Continuity of crap performances perhaps.

Stephen McManus from Celtic (5 months): Part of a job lot from Gordon Strachan’s former club, McManus was one of two who actually came out with any credit. He signed permanently at the end of the season and was a regular at the heart of defence for 2 seasons, even after Strachan had left.

Kyle Naughton from Spurs (3 months): Looked like a long awaited solution to our right back problem, so obviously didn’t stick around.

Jay O’Shea from Birmingham (2 months): I told you John Eustace would have competition…


Mickaël Tavares from Hamburg (season): Obliged to call him a ‘midfield battler’.

Matthew Kilgallon from Sunderland (one month): He actually looked really good in those two games.

Andrew Davies from Stoke (2 months): Not quite a glorious homecoming, but it was nice to see him back at the club for a while.

Paul Smith from Forest (2 months): The first of a string of quality loan keepers.


Carl Ikeme from Wolves (2 months): He was the second.

Alex Nimely from Man City (3 months): Another anonymous non-scoring striker. Obviously he scored on his first appearance at his next loan club – against Boro.

Adam Hammill from Wolves (2 months): Can probably still be found in the corner of a pitch somewhere, doing stepovers.


Josh McEachran from Chelsea (season): One of the earliest members of the Chelsea loan club. Was highly rated until he actually tried to play a whole season.

Ishmael Miller from Forest (season): Mogga’s old pal joined him for a season. Couldn’t fault his workrate and a front three of him, McDonald and Emnes was something to behold.

Sammy Ameobi from Newcastle (3 months): Or Bambi on ice by his other name. Did have one great performance against champions-elect Cardiff City.


József Varga from Debrecen (season): Scary looking bloke who started in midfield but ended up playing right back where he actually looked really good.

Daniel Ayala from Norwich (3 months): Baby Ayala looked shaky to begin with but soon did enough to convince Boro sign him permanently. Has since developed into one of our best ever centre backs.

Shay Given from Villa (3 months): Soon became a popular figure in his short spell. Fans were desperate for him to extend his stay and they almost got their wish a couple of years later but Given chose to move to Stoke instead.

Kenneth Omeruo from Chelsea (5 months): Another Chelsea loanee, and definitely one of the better ones. Was a rock at the back in Karanka’s first season.

Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea (5 months): Looked like he could be the creative midfielder we were craving, and looked bright towards the end of his spell. Was a shame he didn’t stay on the following season.

Lee Tomlin from Peterborough (5 months): Carrying on the long standing Boro tradition of signing players who had scored against us once, Tomlin joined from Peterborough initially on loan. He was an often-frustrating figure but did show occasional moments of magic in his time, none more so than that turn and shot against Man City.

Danny Graham from Sunderland (5 months): Another homecoming, Graham struggled for goals in Karanka’s ultra-defensive team but did hit a rich vein of form at the end of the season and finished with 6 in total. Looked a decent championship striker, but Boro opted against making it a permanent deal.

Tomás Mejías from Real Madrid Castilla (3 months): Only made one appearance in his loan spell, but was still signed on a permanent basis at the end of the season. Only recently left Boro after 4 years, but only ever made a handful of appearances. Looked shaky at times but actually probably wasn’t that bad.


Kenneth Omeruo from Chelsea (season): So good we signed him twice!

Ryan Fredericks from Spurs (season): One of the best right backs I’ve seen at Boro, and is now playing in the Premier League with West Ham.

Patrick Bamford from Chelsea (season): Probably the best loan signing in this list, Bamford scored 17 league goals and picked up the player of the year award as Boro made it to the play-off final. Returned on a permanent transfer a couple of years later but could never recapture the magic.

Jelle Vossen from Genk (season): A bizarre transfer saga involved Youtube pleas from Boro fans to ‘free Jelle Vossen’ and eventually it worked. Vossen was decent in his spell, but Boro decided not to make the deal permanent.

Jamal Blackman from Chelsea (4 months): Only ever made one appearance, and it was an eventful one. He conceded two bad goals, but saved a penalty in the epic shootout before Boro finally bowed out.

Milos Veljkovic from Spurs (3 months): Midfield battler who only made 3 appearances.

Tomas Kalas from Chelsea (18 months): The longest loan spell of the lot, Kalas stayed for 18 months. He looked a really good player but could never nail down a first team place.

Fernando Amorebieta from Fulham (2 months): Looked a bit rubbish but scored a last minute goal against Brentford in the play-offs.

Dwight Tiendalli from Swansea (2 months): Looked a bit rubbish and didn’t score a last minute goal against Brentford in the play-offs.


Diego Fabbrini from Watford (6 months): Looked brilliant for the first few games, but soon faded and his loan was cut short.

Jack Stephens from Southampton (6 months): Only played a couple of league games but did play really well as Boro beat Man Utd in the League Cup.

Fernando Amorebieta from Fulham (6 months): Why did they bring him back!?

Michael Agazzi from AC Milan (season): I told you John Eustace would have competition…

Bruno Zuculini from Man City (3 months): He looked pretty decent for his handful of games.

Kike Sola from Athletic Bilbao (5 months): I told you John Eustace would have competition…

Gastón Ramírez from Southampton (5 months): The saviour of our season and the No. 10 we’d been craving for years.

Ritchie De Laet from Leicester (3 months): Won a Premier League winners’ medal and promotion in the same season. Not bad.


Alvaro Negredo from Valencia (season): One of the biggest names on this list, Boro went all out on promotion to the Premier League with Negredo up front and Valdes in goal. Just a shame they didn’t sign anyone decent to play in between them. Did his best but always looked isolated and frustrated.

Calum Chambers from Arsenal (season): A really solid defensive addition who convinced Arsenal to try and give him a chance the following season.


Connor Roberts from Swansea (6 months): I told you John Eustace would have competition…

Lewis Baker from Chelsea (season): Had caught the eye in Holland and looked like Boro were getting a real gem. But after a bright start he soon faded and disappeared from the first team altogether.

Jack Harrison from Man City (4 months): Swapped New York City for Middlesbrough! Was highly rated from his time in the States, but never really got up to fitness in time to make an impact at Boro.

Mo Besic from Everton (4 months): Added a real touch of class to Boro’s midfield and quickly became a fans’ favourite.


Jordan Hugill from West Ham (season): You might have heard he used to be a barman in the Dickens’ Inn. I used to be a glass collector at Aruba – can I play left back?

Mo Besic from Everton (season): So good we signed him twice!

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