We are five months removed from the summer transfer window and QPR currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League table with just fourteen points from twenty two fixtures, a disappointing season thus far with the huge expenditure on big name players in the aforementioned transfer window having had little to no effect on QPR’s chances of survival from last season. Despite there being numerous positives to take from the first half of the season for Rangers, mainly the performances of Adel Taarabt and the appointment of Harry ‘Houdini’ Redknapp as their new first team manager to replace the one dimensional Mark Hughes the standard of performances since September have not been good enough, yet it seems QPR are repeating the same mistakes already in this current winter opening for new recruits.
Loic Remy, one of the stars of France’s Ligue 1 for a number of seasons with his performances for Marseille and prior to joining Les Phoceens, OGC Nice has agreed to join QPR for a fee confirmed as undisclosed but believed to be around the £9Million mark, the athletic Frenchman has a proven goal scoring record which has seen him score twenty seven league goals combined in the past two Ligue 1 seasons along with six goals in European competition.
There is no doubt Queens Park Rangers are acquiring a proven goal scorer for a reasonable transfer fee but at what other cost? The obvious first point to make is that the wages Remy will be earning at Loftus Road will be far greater than the salary he was being paid at the Stade Velodrome and also what Newcastle United were prepared to offer, when you compare both Newcastle United and QPR in terms of league position, European football and indeed the overall quality of their two respective squads you have to say Newcastle United come far ahead of Rangers on all counts so one has to presume that the sizeable wage package Tony Fernandes has laid on the table for Loic Remy must have been more than substantial.
Secondly what effect will yet another well paid ego have on the QPR dressing room, individuals such as Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie who have been at the club since their days in the Championship may who have shown such a desire to fight for the cause may well find it difficult to be in the same dressing room as individuals who are happy to be on one last payday.
If, as we have surmised Loic Remy has joined QPR for the simple factor of earning a higher wage than in France then QPR are in trouble, who’s to say Loic Remy has any genuine passion for the club?, who’s to say Loic Remy will be too bothered if QPR do indeed fall victim to the Premier League’s trapdoor? Remy will still be getting paid vast sums of money and would surely be able to secure a cheap move to another Premier League club or even back to France at the end of the season. Maybe I am being unfair, maybe Remy is different, maybe he genuinely cares about the cause however QPR’s fans have seen it all before and unfortunately for them they have seen it all in the last 6 months.
The stars such as Julio Cesar, Stephane M’Bia, Esteban Granero and in particular Jose Bosingwa had all brought with them experience, quality and a rather large wage which their previous clubs were no longer willing to pay, in particular in the case of Julio Cesar who has been arguably one of the top goalkeepers in European football for the last five seasons but Internazionale with the brightly shining light of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play scheme pointing directly upon them, could no longer afford to pay Cesar’s astronomical wages, Queens Park Rangers however in the most opportunistic manner could.
This Harlem Globetrotters esque collection of Europe’s finest in theory should see Harry Redknapp’s side at least sitting comfortably in midtable however with the squad lacking leadership and more worryingly commitment, Rangers have only one home win to their name this season.
The QPR board and indeed Harry Redknapp (although with the way QPR is currently run I am unsure as to how much say he has in player acquisition), should have realised that their strategy in the transfer market was no longer working. With this strategy initially having been in place to be a statement, to show that QPR despite having only just kept their top flight status on the final day of last season, could indeed compete financially with Europe’s elite and in fairness to Rangers they have done that with very few clubs in the Premier League having the ability to pay higher wages than the Loftus Road side however when according to Harry Redknapp, Jose Bosingwa, a thirty year old right back is “earning more than anyone at Spurs” you have to sense something is amiss.
The players on these mammoth contracts are bleeding the club dry and when you look at clubs for example Portsmouth who also paid equivalent wages relative to the time to their big name players you have to worry that the same may happen to QPR. What if they too like Portsmouth have not included wage reduction clauses if the club get relegated this season? What if they too like Portsmouth cannot get rid of their highest earning players due to their high wage demands? Whilst I think Tony Fernandes is a much better business man than any of Portsmouth’s owners in the last decade I still am wary of the glaringly obvious similarities between the two clubs and their financial situations.
Arsene Wenger in his midweek press conference stated that Queens Park Rangers were “signing the best players in France” with the experienced perennial penny pinching Arsenal manager referring to the prospective deals for Loic Remy (which has now been completed) and France’s most troubled star Yann M’Vila. M’Vila a footballing conundrum If ever I saw one, a player with all the ability in the world, a central midfield with the physical presence of Patrick Vieira but also the graceful passing game of the former Arsenal great yet with the mentality it seems of Joey Barton.
The Rennes midfielder has found himself excluded from the French national team setup until 2014 as a result of his visit to a nightclub whilst on International duty and it is said that Arsenal who were widely reported as the favourites to sign M’Vila this past summer were reluctant to complete the deal following Euro 2012 as a result of M’Vila’s behaviour and deteriorating attitude. With rival interest from Russian side Rubin Kazan it is by no means a certainty that M’Vila will join his French compatriot Remy at Loftus Road however with Rennes seemingly eager to offload their troubled midfielder it would come as a surprise to me if M’Vila was still with Rennes come February 1st.
Normally under any other circumstances I would say any side being able to add Yann M’Vila and Loic Remy to their squad would be destined for success or at least an improvement on their current position however with QPR I just don’t see it. Remy and M’Vila are both outstanding players, Remy having earned a lot of plaudits across the continent as a result of his explosive style of play, a nice turn of pace and the ability to finish, two heavily sought after attributes in a modern day striker and in theory he should get plenty of opportunities to score goals with Adel Taarabt just in behind him and Yann M’Vila, an extremely talented individual who I genuinely believed would go on to join either Arsenal or Manchester United who are both desperate for a player just like him to sit in the midfield, break up attacks but also have the ability to venture forward with the ball if necessary. Just look at the success Manchester have had with their use of Yaya Toure in much the same way.
A strong midfielder who is excellent on the ball is a difficult commodity to find and yet again in theory he should slot into QPR’s midfield with ease and completely overturn their fortunes however I don’t think the move will change anything at QPR just like the signings of Julio Cesar, Esteban Granero and Jose Bosingwa have changed nothing from last season.
Harry Redknapp whilst having a great level of ability to nurture in this squad also has a very ego driven dressing room to try and manage, he has already run into apparent difficulty with both Bosingwa and Djibril Cisse and who’s to say the same won’t happen around April time with Remy or M’Vila, or even both? I think QPR have failed to learn any lessons from their exploits in the summer transfer window and have done little to address the current problems within the squad such as leadership at the back and much like what has been said of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea over the years I feel the problems at QPR run far deeper than bad luck or lack of quality in the squad and the transfer market strategy of Queens Park Rangers thus far this January has done little to persuade me that QPR’s on the pitch fortunes will improve in the coming months.
Written by Chris Winterburn