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Nelsen's then-approaching departure made signing a replacement center-back a necessity for Redknapp. QPR went for Christopher Samba, triggering the former Blackburn Rovers man's £12.5 million release clause at Anzhi Makhachkala.
Samba has the best part of five years of Premier League experience, is physically imposing and strong in the air. In theory, his presence offers a nice counterpart to the scrappier Clint Hill beside him in defense.
His size and decent goalscoring record—17 in his time at Blackburn—have given people the impression he is a first-class defender. In reality, Samba is nowhere near that level.
There are reasons top clubs have shied away from the 28-year-old, and they are mostly to do with him being a decent individual player but not someone particularly adept as part of a defensive unit. He has little instinct for organization, and his concentration can be found severely wanting when tasked with keeping track of opposition forwards (i.e. most of the time).
In his last season-and-a-half at Blackburn, he was as big a culprit as any for the club's woeful defending. Up until his last league match for the club in 2011-12, Samba played in 16 of their 20 games, a spell in which they conceded 43 times. The season before that (in which he played in 33 of their games) Blackburn were just as shambolic, conceding 59 goals. If not for the frequent superb work of goalkeeper Paul Robinson, they would almost certainly have gone down a year earlier, as they could not defend whatsoever.
Samba was not solely to blame for Blackburn's defensive struggles, but all this is to show he is far from being the man capable of solidifying QPR up at the back alone. Their defense is not altogether dissimilar to that Blackburn one, with players like Hill and Nedum Onuoha decent but not especially commanding presences at the back
Behind them, Julio Cesar will give them some chance of keeping teams out. But as the Swansea game demonstrated, he is going to have some off days, and even then there is only so much he can do.