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Redknapp’s gamble may just save QPR from dredded drop

20 January 2013 by

“You shouldn’t be paying massive wages when you’ve got a stadium that holds 18,000 people.”

“I don’t want to spend the owners’ money, really, I’ve got to be honest with you.”

Given Harry Redknapp’s famous, or to some infamous, penchant for splashing cash at the football clubs he has managed, his comments in the lead-up to the current January transfer window had an unfamiliar air of pragmatism and caution to them. It seemed as if Redknapp’s wont to purchase players in bulk had been curbed by the dire situation, both in footballing and financial terms, that Queens Park Rangers found themselves in by the end of the calendar year. But alas, Rednkapp’s recent acquisition of French international Loic Remy for 8 million pounds – and his admission that QPR are on the verge of signing his French counterpart, Yann M’Villa, for a similar fee – not only rendered his previous comments obselete but represents a considerable gamble from the club in a final attempt to avoid the disastrous financial implications that would accompany its relegation to the Championship.

Should M’Villa join Remy on the conveyor belt of the nine incoming transfers QPR have made for the 2012/13 season, it is tempting to see them as merely another two out-of-form, past-their-best players, adding to a roster full of dead weight. However this view is too simplistic. Rewind twelve months and Remy and M’Villa were two of the most sought after young players in French, if not, world football. Indeed Redknapp had previously been on the verge of signing Remy for Spurs, and a host of top clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United were known to be interested in M’Villa to add steel to their midfield. Admittedly their stocks have fallen notably since they were highly sought-after prospects, through a series of factors, both on and off the pitch. Remy’s form this season has seen a return of a miserly three goals this season, while M’Villa’s plight has been even more drastic – he has been frozen out from both the national team (he is banned until 2014) and his club side Rennes due to his growing reputation as a troublemaker.

In a squad in which there have already been internal divisions, the addition of another two players with a reputation for trouble and inconsistency may appear the last thing QPR need. But this is effectively their last throw of the dice. Though their careers have taken a nosedive in the last year or so, In Harry Redknapp, Remy and M’Villa are under a renowned man-manager who prides himself in getting the best out of his players. Perhaps leaving France and its media is exactly what is needed to revive the fortunes of the two promising talents. With QPR five points off the 17th-placed team, Redknapp has clearly opted to place faith in Remy’s potential to score goals which could be all-important in their quest to survival, and in M’Villa’s potential to strengthen what has at times this season been a non-existent midfield.
Clearly it is a gamble: If QPR do not avoid relegation, they will lose the French pair, for whom there will be relegation clauses; on the other hand, if Remy and M’Villa inspire the club to an unlikely survival, the club’s ambitious project to become a Premier League power-house will be back on track. It is make or break time, but QPR’s French duo may just prove to be the catalysts to an unlikely salvation act.
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