I’ll be honest, I have not been looking forward to doing this article so far out from the start of the season. A month and a week in an open transfer window is like a decade in Harry Redknapp time and so much can change before the first game, never mind before the transfer window actually closes… We’ll have a crack anyway!
QPR’s journey back to the EPL wasn’t quite as smooth as Mr AirAsia would have liked… They managed to make it to 4th in the Championship before overcoming Wigan in extra time of the second leg and then Derby in the final minutes of the Playoff Final. To say luck was on their side would be an understatement.
Gaffer Redknapp showed his tactical versatility by shelving the gung-ho attacking style of previous managerial appointments to install a much tighter defensive unit that was very good on the break. It’s a style that will probably do ok in the EPL most of the time but could open them up to some serious attacking pressure against the top teams, particularly away from home.
This next bit isn’t easy because they had a lot of players in on loan last season, and just as many out on loan but here goes… Take this with a pinch of salt!
When the FPL first opened a week or so back, QPR had five named defenders. Five. That’s probably not going to be enough… Thankfully for QPR supporters they noticed that glaring hole in their squad and gave Rio Ferdinand (4.5m) a retirement package and signed up the reasonably impressive Steven Caulker (5.0m), who looked destined to leave Cardiff ever since their relegation party ended. Both should start in the centre of a new look defence, with Richard Dunne (4.5m) as back-up. In goal, they let the Brazil international No. 1 Julio Cesar go for nought and signed Rob Green (4.5m) to a new deal, who will start the season in goal. On the left Armand Traore (OOP @ 4.5m) or Yun Suk-young (4.0m) should take their place, but Clint Hill (4.5m) has played there. The right will be between Danny Simpson and Nedum Onuoho (4.5m). As said previously, QPR were fairly tight at the back with 16 clean sheets but 8 of those came in the first 10 games… That little stat and the fact half of their defence is brand new means they are a no go zone for now.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you used to collect trading cards? It didn’t matter what sport, football, NBA… And you used to have a heap of cards left over that weren’t quite bad enough to give away, but not good enough that anybody offered to trade for them… This is a pretty apt metaphor for Harry Redknapp and midfielders. Wherever he’s gone he’s collected midfielders and ended up with a pile of them sitting in the corner gathering dust that nobody really wants or he doesn’t want to let go until someone offers a Michael Jordan rookie card in exchange. Same thing has occurred at QPR. They’ve currently got ten midfielders to choose from. There’s a couple of decent ones amongst them though. Joey Bar-thug (5.0m) goes alright when he’s not reading poetry and reciting philosophy, or putting cigars out in people’s eyes… Abel Taarabt (5.5m), if he sticks around, could dazzle us with the odd bit of magic in between fits of mediocrity and unbelievable selfishness. Shaun Wright-Phillips (5.0m) still plays apparently. Jermaine Jenas (4.5m). Yep, he still gets paid to play too… The only one that might take the next step, in my humblest of opinions, is Junior Hoilett (5.0m). I still recall him putting in some immense displays when he was over at Blackburn as a young kid before he chased the Malaysian millions at QPR. In reality, expect QPR to sign up a new midfield to work around Bar-thug which will make this paragraph a waste of time… Fyi. Apart from Bar-thug and Hoilett, only Gary O’Neil (4.5m) started more than 15 games last season from this group…
If they were light on for numbers in defence, it’s even more critical up front. Loic Remy (7.5m) was never going to stick around and he’s decided to try and squeeze into the Liverpool team, but in Charlie Austin (6.0m) they have a good one. Whether QPR’s style of play will be conducive to him scoring enough goals to make him FPL relevant however, I have some serious doubts. The only back-up they currently have is the goal shy Bobby Zamora (4.5m) who’s new contract must have been a promotion present… Expect some transfer movements here too.
So there we have it. QPR in it’s current state aren’t going to be setting any pulses racing but knowing Harry, he’s got the feelers out for some new talent he can add to his collection of players! I don’t see them being particularly FPL helpful at the start of the season, but as with all the promoted teams keep an eye on how they settle…