QPR's Transfer Gamble on Loic Remy Will Not Pay off
A week after he took charge at QPR, Harry Redknapp gave a very sensible press conference.
With the West London side winless and at the rock bottom of the Premier League, the man famous for transfer dealings said he may not spend in the January window if his side were "cut adrift".
Rather than risk burdening the club with (even more) high wage bills, he will try to invest in loan deals, or make do with the squad that he inherited from Mark Hughes. With four Champions League winners and several highly-paid newcomers, this would not exactly be tantamount to giving up.
Since making that statement, QPR have earned nine points, including a shocking victory over their neighbours at Stamford Bridge. Apparently, this was deemed enough for a complete U-turn on the frugal approach, as the club have just announced the club-record £8 million acquisition of Loic Remy from Marseille.
We are led to believe it was a game of FIFA 12 with owner Tony Fernandes that persuaded the Frenchman into a four-and-a-half year deal with the Hoops (h/t Sky Sports), and not the wages that The Guardian believe to be £75,000 per week.
Remy's contract may work out at £17.55 million before bonuses, but the spending will apparently not stop with the striker. QPR are also understood to be close to a £7 million deal for troubled midfielder Yann M'Vila (Daily Mail), and are said to be pursuing Swansea's Danny Graham (Hartlepool Mail) and West Brom's Peter Odemwingie (Goal.com).
Clearly, the new strategy is to spend their way out of a financially devastating relegation.
Whereas clubs like Portsmouth learned the hard way that this strategy can fail, QPR would appear to be able to cover the risk. Majority owner Tony Fernandes is not short of a penny, while 34 percent stakeholder Lakshmi Mittal is among the richest men in the world.
Yet the signing of Loic Remy is part of a high-spending strategy that is inevitably doomed to fail.
This is no slight on Remy; he is a fantastic player. The problem is that he has joined a club who appear to have learnt nothing from their overzealous summer spending.
In August, the club brought in Stephane M'Bia, Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar and Jose Bosingwa. None of them were cheap and none of them have really improved a squad that escaped relegation last season by the skin of their teeth.
Bosingwa has proven particularly troublesome, falling out with Redknapp and appearing happy to sit on his £60,000 per week contract for another two years.
If they secure the services of Yann M'Vila—a man who has had plenty of brushes with the law and is banned from international duty until 2014—one could easily foresee similar problems.
The club's form has certainly improved with two wins in the last six league games, but they remain rooted to the bottom of the league, some six points adrift of safety.
The odds have improved, but they are still stacked against 'Arry Houdini.
To put their plight in perspective, the famously terrible Swindon side of 1993/94—who were relegated with 30 points and a record-breaking 100 goals conceded—had 16 points and two wins at this stage in the season.
QPR have the same amount of wins, but two fewer points.
I want QPR to stay up and I want Harry Redknapp to succeed. Six points is not an insurmountable deficit with 16 games to play.
But throwing money at the problem has seldom been the answer in a relegation battle, and I fear the West London side will reap very little reward from this huge throw of the dice.
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