Q.P.R kicked off their campaign at Loftus Road amidst uncertainty of the foreseeable ownership of the football club. Since promotion to the Premier League investment in the playing squad had been few and far between and expectations of survival for the now small, once big, London club were to fall upon the shoulders of their current stars and player of the season 10/11, Adel Taarabt.
If a reason for new players wasn’t needed before opening day, it was after; Bolton Wanderers brushed a lacklustre Hoops outfit aside with a 4-0 demolition. The only advantage of such a heavy defeat was that it would encourage the current owners to sell up their shares for the good of the club, and waiting in the wings to do so was AirAsia and Team Lotus owner, Tony Fernandes CBE, buying Bernie Ecclestone’s £35m share in the club.
The Hammers fan, who has twice tried and failed to buy his favoured club, with his offers being deemed, “derisory” by West Ham owners Sullivan and Gold, has stated his reasons for buying the club as almost purely financial. He has made no qualms about his intentions to use Q.P.R as a selling tool of his other companies and he is quoted as saying “football is a strongly linked business to F1” claiming it can be “hugely profitable”. Rangers fans that have doubts over his intentions should have no fear. “QPR is a raw diamond and hopefully I can contribute turning it into a diamond.” Fernandes, who took over AirAsia for 20p ten years ago, went on to say “I want the fans to be proud of what we’re doing and (we will) be involved as much as we can.” Tony Fernandes has a history of personal customer dealings, using his twitter account frequently to directly communicate with the public.
What QPR’s Away Strip may look like
Fans of direct communication have a second reason to be happy. Since Fernandes took over the club Twitter happy Joey Barton was made the first signing of Warnock’s newly rich club. However, fans expecting City-esque expenditure from their new majority share owner should be under no illusions. Fernandes, who does nonetheless intend to invest an immediate £10m into the playing staff, has stated his belief that The Premier League’s “vast TV income” will aid the club to “live within its means.” He also added his wish for the club to strengthen its youth policy, as common trait amongst new investors into English football amidst talks of UEFA’s 6+5 rule.
Joey Barton, bad-boy to Buddhist basher, has become some kind of cult hero amongst some sections of the media recently. The once Strangeways inmate has become eloquent like never before with his latest tweets in the wake of his bust-up with Newcastle over the running of the club. His openness regarding, what the club believed to be “private matters” was aired like dirty laundry through the much criticized social network site, Twitter, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.” said Barton, directly quoting Animal Farm author George Orwell.
Neil Warnock, who already has one Mr. Billy Bigboots in the form of “banned” Moroccan international, Adel Taarabt, was quick to praise his second, “We’ve got a very very good player on our hands….he wants to get back into the England team.” Barton, who joins on a £40,000 a weak contract, believes the club’s “ambition bodes really well for the future.” If Barton’s ability, which on his day is undeniable, shines through alongside Adel Taarabt, QPR could potentially have no worries in securing survival this season.
As hinted by Fernandes’ £10m plea to the club before the deadline deal shuts at midnight tonight, Barton wasn’t the only player to join last season’s Championship winners. Another England capped player signed for the Loftus Road club yesterday; Aston Villa right back Luke Young, who at 32 offers the newly promoted club some much needed Premier League experience, joined on a 3-year deal signalling his intention to see out his career at the London club. This was something Warnock sought after, “I’ve been looking for a defender with vast Premier League experience for a while now,” and with Luke Young having played for 4 Prem clubs over his career, he has acquired that.
Warnock obviously feels that defence is where QPR are most unsuited to the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, with a double signing on the penultimate day of the transfer window; Armand Traore, who played in The Gunners 8-2 record defeat at Old Trafford, followed Young in through the door, to play on the opposite side of defence.
The French under-21 international spent last season on loan at Juventus, and at only 21 Warnock believes that “he has all the qualities to be a top top defender” and that “no one has seen the best of him yet.” The Mrs. Doubtfire look-a-like (not an official title of his by the way) went on to claim Armand was his “number one defensive target for a while now.” Considering he secured the signature of Luke Young on the same day, and is rumoured to be closing in on the acquisition of Anton Ferdinand, Warnock probably shouldn’t have dwarfed their incoming with such a statement.
Mrs. Doubtfire Neil Warnock
However, his interest in Armand Traore materialised at just the right time; with less than 48 hours left before the Summer Transfer Window slams shut, Arsenal secured the services of another left-back, Andre Santos for £6.5m from Turkish giants Fenerbache, a deal that most likely brokered in the wake of Arsenal’s poor defensive start to the season, highlighted by another 6 goal deficit to add to the tally at the weekend. This deal undoubtedly allowed Traore to make the London club switch.
With less than 36 hours left before the transfer deadline is upon us, QPR fans will be waiting to see who else joins the club. A 10 day break, due to International fixtures, means that any signings made will have time to adjust to their new surroundings, allowing Rangers to attempt to kick start their season against Barton’s old club, Newcastle. The Toon army have made reinforcements of their own since Barton’s departure; Davide Santon joining from Inter sees Pardew’s team bolstered in defence.
In other transfer news of interest, Arsenal have made 3 defensive signings in the form of Chu Young Park, Per Mertesacker and the aforementioned Andre Santos. With time left on the clock, Arsene Wenger looks set to add more last minute signings to his team – the strongest of all rumours lay at Lille’s door, with Eden Hazard looking set to join fellow countryman Wenger at The Emirates.
Owen Hargreaves, who this weekend gave a shocking interview to The Mail on Sunday, in which he claimed he could “play 40 games this season” and “play for England again” has been rumoured to be joining ex-club’s arch-rivals Manchester City.
It is unlikely that all eyes will be on Warnock’s signings as the window draws to a close, however with Scott Parker handing in a transfer request at West Ham, possibly influenced by Capello’s words, it may not be over for QPR’s dealings yet, with the club being rumoured to be one of many possible destinations for the Hammers’ captain. Fellow ex-Hammer player Craig Bellamy is also set to join Rangers. However other sources report both are set for Tottenham.
Be sure to read tomorrow’s article on the “Transfer Deadline Deals” to see who else joined the Loftus Elite.
(Note: all information regarding player’s current clubs etc was correct at the time of writing. Tuesday 30th September 1920hrs GMT.)