So Queens Park Rangers have officially been relegated. Not exactly the biggest shock of the season, or indeed the last two years—seeing as the team have won just 14 games out of 73. However with the inevitable confirmed, QPR fans are now looking towards the Championship, and more importantly, the clear out.
When Mark Hughes bought the world's best players past their prime in the summer, and Harry Redknapp added to that even more players on astronomical wages, the idea was to spend themselves to safety.
However, it didn't quite turn out like that, and there was a blatant rift within the team thanks to the wage difference—one which even the manager himself has admitted in The Guardian:
"There are splits in the camp, ... I'd be liar if I said there wasn't, it's been obvious for everyone to see all year. It's a problem, it's not easy."
However, a new season, one which doesn't involve global domination, is perhaps what QPR need. A chance to settle themselves, get rid of the deadwood, and understand that there is a fine line between mercurial and mercenary.
Avoiding the highly speculative talk about new signings, and avoiding any youth players, this article will try and determine how QPR might line up next season.
Disagree? Let me know below. Agree? Shout it from the rooftops—or just let me know below too.
Despite the twitterverse going slightly crazy on Monday with rumors Harry Redknapp was about to leave Queens Park Rangers and bookmakers slashing odds on the next manager to be sacked, the official website led with the story that 'Arry had committed himself to the club in a conversation with Tony Fernandes:
I have had a positive meeting with Harry, ... I don’t think there was any point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project he has embarked upon with a third of the season through.
So despite the next three months of wondering who will stay, who will go and who will maybe not come back (cough cough Joey Barton). One thing is for sure, Harry Redknapp will remain manager. Tony said so.
Then again, he said that about Neil Warnock. And Mark Hughes.
But who of the current squad will Redknapp have to pick from?
GK: Rob Green
Rob Green has kept Julio Cesar out of the starting lineup recently, and despite being left out in the cold by Hughes, has been reinvigorated by Redknapp.
He will have to double check that Iker Casillas or Manuel Neuer aren't going to be bought in the transfer window, but could well be the first-choice 'keeper in the Championship next season.
Julio Cesar. Can you imagine Brazil's No. 1 goalkeeper playing Doncaster away on a Tuesday night? Neither can I.
RB: Jose Bosingwa
Many QPR fans would love to see the back of this man after "laugh-gate" when the final whistle blew at Reading. However, Harry Redknapp has defended the Portuguese defender, as he did once his refusal to sit on the bench had blown over, so Jose may still be a Ranger come August.
CB: Clint Hill
The embodiment of hard work and loyalty, Clint Hill has been a solid player for QPR for the past few seasons. And unless Neil Warnock finds another club to bring his ex-Sheffield United pals to, Hill can lead from the back once more in the second tier.
CB: Christopher Samba
He has been rubbish and is paid loads. However this more likely spells a situation where QPR will have to get him match fit and pay him less, as nobody would sign him on the back of his last few performances for the reported amount of money he is on.
LB: Armand Traore
There are not many teams who would buy a player made out of glass, and Armand Traore has got fragile written all over him. But when he plays, he is a solid and pacey full-back.
Bench: Tal Ben Haim
He couldn't cope with MK Dons in the Capital One Cup, but luckily they aren't getting promoted. Harry liked him at Portsmouth, and after signing him in January looks sets to keep him as a squad player.
Anton Ferdinand was sent out on loan by Harry Redknapp, so why would he want him back? Nedum Onuoha is still young, and when in the right position has pace and power so could easily get signed by a promoted side. And Yun Suk-Young hasn't even been seen, so who knows what will happen to him. He could be in your house right now and you wouldn't know it.
RM: Shaun Wright-Phillips
SWP is not everybody's favorite choice of player, but he may actually tear the Championship apart, so long as he doesn't have to cross. He is very quick, and if he remains that quick, could be a crucial part of Redknapp's plans.
CM: Jermaine Jenas
Jenas has just moved to a team whom give him playing time that he hadn't got for a few seasons at his last club. He'd be unwise to leave.
CM: Alejandro Faurlin
Sat on the bench for half of the QPR season. Sent out on loan. Sat on the bench for half of the Palermo season. Ale Faurlin needs to get back on the pitch, and after excelling three years ago in the Championship, he could well return to the starting XI.
CM: Joey Barton
The philosophical son returns. Maybe. Although tweeting he will not play Championship football, considering he is under contract at QPR he may not have a choice. A controversial pick, but someone who will get stuck in (to the match, not the players) may just be what Rangers need. Maybe.
LM: Andros Townsend (L)
Towsend has been a revelation since his arrival on loan in January, and although Tottenham will not be keen to let the midfielder leave permanently, 'Arry may try and work his magic and get him on another loan deal. Especially if Gareth Bale stays at Spurs.
Bench: Stephane Mbia
After Mbia showed everybody that he is very good at multiple rolls and taking chunks out of players' legs, the talk of a move to Chelsea is likely off the table. But he probably can't be trusted for a full 90-minutes.
Bench: Shaun Derry
He is a good Championship player, which is why he wasn't very good in the Premier League.
Bench: Hogan Ephraim
A squad player for the past two seasons, Ephraim will be looking to fight his way back into the matchday squad. Unless he really likes the food in Toronto.
However, the biggest transfer news might be Adel Taarabt. Whether it be Barcelona, AC Milan, or Cardiff City (the promoted side house half of QPR's old team), Taarabt is going to be a sought-after man. Although you can rule out Barcelona and AC Milan, whatever the Moroccan Magician says.
ST: Jamie Mackie
Mr Hardwork himself has played a substantial amount of EPL games, and not scored a substantial amount of goals. Unless a promoted side comes in for the striker, Jamie Mackie looks likely to lead the front line.
Bench: Jay Bothroyd
Jay Bothroyd will, however, be waiting to take his place should Mackie leave. And despite his new tattoo, Jay is a good player to have in the Championship.
Bench: DJ Campbell
QPR fan DJ Campbell was scoring near-on every week for Ipswich while on loan, and Redknapp will be looking for him to do the same for Rangers. That is, if Blackburn Rovers don't make his current loan deal a permanent one.
Loic Remy. Well, it's obvious really isn't it? With Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal all interested (via The Telegraph) in the striker, his £8 million release fee will be met as soon as the window opens. Djibril Cisse is looking to move back to Marseille, and fans are looking for Rob Hulse to move anywhere.
Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. Naturally.