Queens Park Rangers: 5 Predictions for QPR's Summer If They Don't Survive
The terms Queens Park Rangers and relegation have become synonymous with each other recently, and it is of no surprise that talk of what will happen if QPR don't beat the drop is growing.
Harry Redknapp's side have put a fight up in their last few games, but still sit firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. And even the most optimistic fans are planning their away days to less glamorous parts of the country like Hull. No offense to Leicester or Hull of course.
However if QPR don't survive the relegation battle, what will their summer entail? Here are five predictions for the west London club should the Championship come calling.
Wage Bill Will Be Slashed
Figures released in November 2012 showed that QPR spent £6.8 million in agents fees during the summer transfer window, and that was even before the wage bill was calculated.
In the 2011/12 season, their wage bill rose from £27.6 million to £56 million, and that doesn't include the transfers of Jose Bosingwa, Julio Cesar, Rob Green, Loic Remy, Christopher Samba, Jermaine Jenas and the loan of Andros Townsend. If you calculate just those players' reported weekly earnings alone, the figure reaches nearly half a million pounds a week.
Those sort of figures are not Championship figures. And players will have to be let go to make up for the loss of TV revenue which occurs when a team drops down from the Premier League.
Who will leave will most likely depend on offers from other clubs, and who will be deemed essential to Harry Redknapp's plans. But that wage bill needs to be slashed if Rangers don't avoid the drop for the club to not spiral even further into debt.
Fortunately for the Rangers' bookkeepers, some players will not have joined the west London outfit in order to drop into the lower leagues of English football. And let's be honest, Brazil's No. 1 goalkeeper is unlikely to want to play out his twilight years in the Championship. So that's a bit saved already.
Ticket Prices Will Not Be Slashed
As much as Tony Fernandes will be looking to recoup some of the losses sustained over the past few years, he will also be looking to bring as much money into the club as possible.
Of course, the number of people willing to pay £55 to see QPR play Hull City (no offense to Hull City) is not as many as would pay to see Chelsea or Manchester United. However figures from the end of 2012 suggest that fans will still pay high prices to follow their club in the lower divisions.
Birmingham City, Ipswich Town and Leicester City all charge in excess of £40 for premium seats, and Queens Park Rangers will not lower their prices substantially if other clubs in that division are charging that amount themselves.
All is not doom and gloom, however, as although ticket prices may still be expensive, the number of tickets readily available is set to rise. This is because the number of "other" people who want to see QPR are likely to reduce, as let's face it, there aren't that many tourists who would pay to watch Hull City when they could go and see Chelsea and Manchester United.
No offense to Hull City again of course.
Esteban Granero Will Leave If Jose Mourinho Returns to Premier League
Esteban Granero and Jose Mourinho seemed to have a bromance going on at Real Madrid. Mourinho reportedly did not want the midfielder to leave for the heady height of Loftus Road, and Granero confirmed as such in an interview with Marca (via Daily Mail) shortly after his move to QPR:
He (Mourinho) has always wanted what’s best for me. He didn’t want me to leave, but he understood. He wished me the best, he gave me good advice and he helped with my decisions. I have good memories of him...He’s a great manager and he treated me well.
With Granero not becoming the solid starter and star performer that was expected of him this season, many may wonder if the Real Madrid manager would actually buy the midfielder again, especially after only giving him limited chances at El Galacticos. However, the manager used to speak highly of the midfielder:
It pained me to leave Granero in the stands against Real Sociedad because nobody works as much as he does. He is physically fit, intelligent and has a great heart. He always wants to help the team.
The Spaniard would not turn down a chance to re-kindle his friendship with Mourinho (who would), especially if The Special One returned to the Premier League. And Jose seems to like Granero a little bit too.
Squad Will Center Around Loic Remy
Again, another "will he stay or will he go" candidate, but Loic Remy has been inspirational since his transfer (that one game), and then after his return from injury with three goals in five starts.
If the Frenchman doesn't disappear back to France—or Newcastle—then he could be even more prolific against Championship defenses. And if he does stay, he is bound to be QPR's talisman as he has been in those five games so far.
However, if the wage bill is indeed slashed, Remy's reported salary of £75,000 per week (just shy of $115,000), then he may well be sacrificed to keep the club on financial track. But if he is not, and he wishes to stay at Loftus Road, then the squad will undoubtedly be built around the striker.
Signings will of course come in over the summer, and just how many depend on the number that leave. But with 'Arry's nose for a deal, and the Championship a less exciting prospect for Champions League winners, hopefully these signings will be more astute and will focus on getting the best out of Loic Remy.
Harry Redknapp Will Stay
Some media outlets, such as the Daily Mirror, are reporting that West Ham United are lining Harry Redknapp up as a replacement for Sam Allardyce in the summer. Then again Allardyce himself has claimed to be close to agreeing (via Sky Sports) a new contract at the Hammers.
Despite which reports you believe, chairman Tony Fernandes has assured fans that Redknapp will remain at Loftus Road even if Rangers do get relegated.
And Tony Fernandes doesn't lie.
Or at least, QPR fans will be hoping he doesn't. As another change in management would not increase their chances of bouncing straight back up should they be set for a season in the Championship.
But Harry himself has reasons to stay at Queens Park Rangers too. Despite the potential emotional pull of West Ham, he is already settled at a club that, although in big debt, also have big ideas. They have a chairman who is loyal, fans who love him, and a squad—although disjointed—which could do great things in the Championship.
If they all stay at the club themselves of course.