Dugarry to Donovan – Five loans that saved Premier League seasons

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Cometh the hour, cometh the man and when it comes to Fulham and the Cottagers’ prospects of survival this season that said individual could well be Clint Dempsey.

Scorer of 50 goals in 184 appearances for the Londoners, the attacking midfielder looks set to make a return to Craven Cottage as part of a two-month loan from the Seattle Sounders.

Having departed the club for Tottenham back in 2012, the 30-year-old will be hoping to rebuild a few bridges with fans, prepare himself for next summer’s World Cup and hopefully spark a revival for the relegation threatened club.

Fulham can be backed at 9/10 for the drop but with Dempsey in tow, but can Rene Meulensteen utilise his new loan signing to ignite a great escape?

Fans will be hoping the move is as successful as one of the following:

Landon Donovan – Everton (2009-10)

Dempsey’s international teammate was the first US star to head across the Atlantic for a two-month loan in January of 2010, with Everton the beneficiaries of his lighting pace and eye for a pass.

Playing 13 times for David Moyes’ side, Donovan scored twice and set up countless more, with his performances for the Toffees resulting in him being named the club’s Player of the Month for January.

Keen to keep hold of the attacker for the remainder of the season, parent club LA Galaxy flatly refused to entertain such an idea and Everton went from top four contenders to just missing out on a Europa League qualification spot.

Fredi Bobic – Bolton (2001-02)

Out of favour at Borussia Dortmund, Fredi Bobic represented a left-field choice for Trotters boss Sam Allardyce, with Bolton staring down the barrel of relegation.

Linking up well with Reebok superstars Youri Djorkaeff and Jay-Jay Okocha, the forward made an electric start to life in the Premier League, grabbing a hat-trick against relegation rivals Ipswich in a 4-1 win and scoring again in a crucial 3-2 win over Aston Villa.

That was as good as it got for Bobic in the north west, who signed for Hannover 96 the following season, where a haul of 14 goals in 27 games saw him named in the Germany squad for Euro 2004.

Christophe Dugarry – Birmingham City (2002-03)

Having previously plied his trade with clubs like AC Milan, Barcelona and Marseille during a star-studded career that also included international success, it was somewhat of a surprise when Dugarry opted to swap the sunny climes of France for a spell in Birmingham.

But the ageing former Bordeaux man had a vintage opening campaign for the Midlands club, including a run of five goals in five matches, which helped ensure the club steered well clear of relegation.

Signed on a permanent basis that summer, Dugarry failed to rediscover the magic at St. Andrew’s and left by mutual consent after just 15 appearances with his club legend status already assured.

Kieran Richardson – West Bromwich Albion (2004-05)

An unpopular fixture at Old Trafford during the early part of his career, Richardson’s most treasured memories could well be those enjoyed during his brief soiree at the other end of the table with West Brom.

Signed on a season-long loan, the midfielder was part of the squad left bottom at Christmas and with little hope of survival. Slowly but surely though, he began to show the ability that first caught Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye as the Baggies began to bounce their way out of trouble.

The club’s great escape was confirmed on the final day, with Richardson finding the net in a 2-0 win which, combined with other results, saw Bryan Robson’s team survive. The enduring image of the day remains that of the midfielder being held aloft by fans on the pitch.

Jurgen Klinsmann – Tottenham Hotspur (1997-98)

They say you should never go back, but for Spurs and Jurgen Klinsmann this was one reunion that dreams were made of. Sucked into the relegation mire, Tottenham were in desperate need of a hero to drag them to mid-table safety.

Enter Klinsmann, at the club on loan after an unsuccessful spell in Italy with Sampdoria, who quickly set about putting things right. Showing the same eye for goal he possessed during his first spell with the side, the undoubted highlight was a four-goal haul against Wimbledon in a 6-2 win.

With Spurs safe, he hung up his boots at the end of the season against Southampton, having reaffirmed his status as a White Hart Lane legend.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.