THE U's have a proud recent record of signing former loanees on a permanent basis.

And Craig Eastmond’s recent arrival at Colchester United, on a permanent basis, will have been greeted with smiles and cheers from the U’s faithful.

Eastmond, 22, caught the eye during his two-month loan stay with the U’s, from mighty Arsenal, last term.

His presence in central midfield was instrumental in the U’s initial rise out of the relegation mire, at the start of Joe Dunne’s reign.

It will certainly be a mouth-watering prospect to see Eastmond run out at the start of next season, as a fully-fledged Colchester player, following his capture on a two-year deal.

The Essex club have an excellent record of signing players, who have initially impressed on loan, either at Layer Road or the Weston Homes Community Stadium, over the last couple of decades.

Here I recall my top 10 ex-loanees, who went on to grace the books of Colchester United full-time:

1 KEM IZZET: Signed on loan from Charlton on March 22, 2001, for just one month, a very youthful Izzet made the mvoe permanent four weeks later and has been with the U's ever since! The loyal midfielder has rattled up 422 league appearances over the last 12 years.

2 SCOTT MCGLEISH: Originally snapped up on loan from Peterborough in February, 1996, when he bagged six goals in 15 games for Steve Wignall’s side, McGleish returned on a permanent basis from 2001 to ‘04, regularly finishing the U’s leading scorer. He netted 47 goals in 167 first team outings. He was plying his trade in the Ryman Premier Division, at the ripe old age of 39, last season.

3 WAYNE BROWN: He struggled to find his feet, during an early loan spell from Ipswich in October, 1997 – he played just two games, coming on as a second-half substitute for fellow defender Peter Cawley when the U’s were beating Scunthorpe 3-0, only for the U’s to end up drawing 3-3. But centre-half Brown returned to Layer Road on a permanent contract, in 2004, to inspire Phil Parkinson’s men to promotion glory (2005-06). He was voted U’s player-of-the-season in their promotion year, and followed that up by playing every minute of every game in the U’s first Championship campaign. He is now a member of the U’s coaching staff.

4 JOHNNIE JACKSON: Another member of the U’s successful Championship squad of 2006-07, midfielder Jackson originally moved to Layer Road from Tottenham on a short-term loan deal in the spring of 2003, playing eight games. He was snapped up on a free transfer in the summer of 2006, and stayed for three seasons, making 107 league appearances. He is now thriving at Charlton, where he is skipper.

5 JAMIE CURETON: Jamie caused a stir on his loan arrival from Swindon in the autumn of 2005, scoring seven goals in 10 league and cup outings. When Swindon suffered relegation at the end of that season, striker Cureton activated a clause in his contract which enabled him to leave on a free transfer. He promptly signed for the Us, picking up the Championship’s Golden Boot the following season, thanks to 23 goals, the first Colchester player to reach 20 league goals since Tony Adcock 22 years earlier. At the age of 37, he is still banging in the goals for current club Exeter City.

6 NEIL DANNS: Another key member of Parkinson’s promotion-winning season of 2005-06, midfielder Danns relished a two-month loan move from Blackburn in the autumn of 2004, before signing permanently just before Christmas of that year. He scored 28 goals in 87 first team games, before being sold to Birmingham for £500,000. He is now at Huddersfield.

7 CARL EMBERSON: Recruited on loan from Millwall by manager Roy McDonough before Christmas, 1992, keeper Emberson played 13 games. He was snapped up for £25,000 from the Lions in the summer of 1994, and went on to play a further 218 first team games in five years, including two trips to Wembley with Wignall’s men. Now 39, his most recent back-room jobs have been with Bristol Rovers and Luton.

8 MARK YEATES: This flying winger made a huge impact on a season-long loan from Tottenham in 2005-06, missing just two league games as the U’s clinched promotion. Yeates returned on a permanent contract in the summer of 2007, though perhaps never quite managing the heights of his first stay. He scored 20 goals in 72 league games, before leaving for Middlesbrough. He helped Watford to the Championship play-off final this season.

9 CRAIG FAGAN: Having dazzled during a season-long loan from Birmingham City (2003-04), this razor sharp front-runner moved to the U’s on a free transfer in the summer of 2004. He went on to score a further 18 goals in 40 league and cup games, which earned him a move to Hull. He spent the end of last season playing for Bury, turning out for the Shakers in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of his old club Colchester.

10 FREDDIE SEARS: Such a popular figure during his loan stay from West Ham during the second half of the 2011-12 campaign, front-runner Sears made the move permanent last summer. He responded with eight goals, despite some niggling injuries, and will be looking to improve on this next season.