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Can We Expect a Flurry of Loan Activity into Non-League?

Wed 17th Aug 2016 | Football Club Management

In recent years, the loan system has been used as a preferred method for a player’s development, allowing young talent to drop down in the football pyramid to gain all important first team game time.

Lower level clubs have benefitted by bringing in the talent in a manner which is also cost effective.

Emergency loans in England have now been scrapped. Players can still be loaned between transfer windows but it is felt that the new regulations will restrict the movement of players.

The opportunity for young players to be blooded at a level that is seen appropriate has been reduced.

At the same time as the new loan rules are being introduced, clubs are now playing under-23s development league football and no longer an under-21s format.

Whilst the under 23 competitions allow players to continue to develop and play within their club environment for two more years it creates a bottle-neck of players aged between 19 and 22 who are looking for match time.

An 18 or 19 year old player who was hoping to establish himself this season as an U21 player is now competing for an U23 place with last year’s crop of players. For that player, and his elder peers, there are now less opportunities to move on loan.

There is an increased likeliness of a young professional footballer actually not playing football.

The levels of frustration are already becoming apparent and the season is less than a month old!

Top level clubs are now exploring all avenues to find loans for their players with an ever increasing number of players going to lower leagues abroad.

Whist the opportunities for development through domestic loans are more restricted, clubs can still loan players during, and between, transfer windows and parent clubs can still have their player represent them in non first team football league fixtures.

The trend of players going on loan into the English non-league game is also increasing but the activity during the current transfer window, despite the new regulations and increased pool of non-playing frustrated talent, is surprisingly low.


League Loans into the National Leagues





Loans to Nat Lge





Loans to Nat Lge N/S





Total loans to Nat Lge






Source: Opta    *Activity since July 1, 2016

At Player LENS, we work with clubs to find the right loan deals which aid a player’s professional development and source players for clubs who are looking to strengthen their squads.

Our aim is to fully understand both clubs’ requirements, resources and ambition to make sure that any loan proves to be a success. The best measure of a successful loan being the amount of minutes played during a player’s loan spell.

Apart from the important match-day minutes, Player LENS will facilitate all conversations ensuring clubs co-operate and understand the development environment (training / sports science,  etc.) and also the off-field logistics and a player’s personal needs. It some cases the player may spend considerable time with the parent club whilst commuting and representing the loan club on match days making the location of the clubs important.

We offer clubs access to our electronic app free of charge which allows clubs to promote players to other clubs within the Player LENS network and easily find players who can be brought in to strengthen their squad. This provides transparency and efficiency whilst maintaining a level of integrity and confidence knowing that clubs are working within their own guided parameters and dealing on information that is presented by other clubs.

Clubs looking to do business or strengthen squads are welcomed to get in touch.


Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us – agourley@fcbusiness.co.uk

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