Exeter City hoping to once again reap Premier League loanee rewards

Exeter City will be hoping to once again reap the rewards of the Premier League loan market after the success of the 2023/24 group. While Admiral Muskwe’s loan from Luton Town was a disappointment even before injury ended his season, Vil Sinisalo, Luke Harris, Ryan Trevitt and Dion Rankine impressed for the Grecians.

Aston Villa loanee Sinisalo swept the board at the end of the season awards, winning six trophies, including Player oaf the Year. The goalkeeper played 50 times for City this season, with fans falling in love with the Finn.

Luke Harris joined on loan from Fulham in January – after a move in the summer fell through on Deadline Day. The 19-year-old attacker made 21 appearances, scoring four goals, including the goal of the season winner away to Port Vale.

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Chelsea loanee Rankine was a consistent threat in attacking areas as the 21-year-old’s first season in professional football saw him make 36 appearances, scoring one goal.

Trevitt was arguably City’s star man in the first half of the season before an ankle injury in December ended his campaign as he returned to parent club Brentford for treatment. Beforehand though, the 21-year-old midfielder had scored five goals in 23 appearances – only Reece Cole scored more over the course of the season – and since returning to fitness, has been on the bench in the Premier League for the Bees.

Whether any of the quartet will return to St James Park for next season remains unclear. City fans would love all four to come back, although how feasible a return for any of them will be remains unknown. City though will once again look at loanees from the Premier League to join and bolster the squad.

Manager Gary Caldwell has already said that as much as he would love to have Sinisalo back, he thinks the chances of it happening are incredibly slim. Harris is another who he has declared he would want back, but it depends on Fulham’s plans for the Welshman, while Rankine’s future was unclear at the end of the season but he said he loved his time in Devon.

“The loan players are really important at this level,” manager Caldwell said. “We are a fantastic club for them with our facilities at the Cliff Hill, the environment at SJP and the support the players get from the staff, the club and the supporters.

“Every loan player that has come in has given us something back. Just look at what Vil Sinisalo has done in terms of minutes played, getting player of the year, from where he was last year not playing at Burton Albion. It just shows what we can do for these younger players and next year we will look to the Premier League and Championship clubs for their top young talent to come and support our squad.

“I thank all the boys that came, they committed to the football club and bought into everything Exeter City is about so thank you for all that they did as they were excellent.

“Over the last couple of years, we have developed strong relationships with the likes of Fulham, Aston Villa, Brentford and Chelsea and shown them how we can support their young players and provide minutes for them and hopefully we can get more players in the future from these clubs.”

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