Today in Transfers and Targets, we’re not going to dsisect the list of potential new Premier League blood but look at a transfer saga that has been raging on even before the window opened up two weeks ago. The fortunes of at least two Premier League clubs lie in the decision that faces France and Olympique Marseille striker Loic Remy.
Going into today, it looked like all that was needed for Loic Remy to begin his long-awaited tenure at Newcastle United was a passable medical and his signature on the contract. Reports were out that the French striker was on Tyneside for said medical and that the formalities just had to be cleared out of the way before he would officially become a Magpie.
Remy has been a Newcastle target for a while now, with rumors of his arrival floating around during the summer. This winter, a few other clubs around Europe were thought to desire his signature. Most notable from the Premier League grumblings was the interest of QPR and newly appointed manager Harry Redknapp. Remy was rumored to have rebuked the attention coming out of Loftus Road before the weekend and had also made rumblings about being less than pleased with Newcastle’s current league position. Despite that, it seemed that he would indeed move to the northeast of England as of Sunday. But now, just an hour ago, news is out that Rangers have won the Remy sweepstakes.
Remy was somewhat of a perfect fit for Newcastle after the sale of club top-scorer Demba Ba. Not only is there a hole up front for Remy to fill, he can play in the wide areas with effectiveness, something Ba basically point-blankly refused to do.
The question now is why QPR were so desperate to sign the striker. The obvious reason is there of course. QPR are now sitting solely in last place in the Premier League. Reading leapt to two points clear of that dreaded place after beating West Brom over the weekend, when Rangers could only eke out a 0-0 draw with Tottenham. Remy is a French international player and has vied for league titles and played in the Champion’s League during his time at Olympique Marseille. His addition could lead to valuable goals and wins which would lead to vital points, which would lead to a safe spot in the league.
Taking a closer look, however, it seems that signing players like Remy are the reason QPR are in the mess they are in at the moment. Queen’s Park Rangers gained promotion to the Premier League and finished a solitary point above relegation last season. During that time and in the summer afterwards, they went on a spending spree that brought in the likes of Djibril Cisse, Estaban Granero, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bobby Zamora, Park Ji-Sung, Jose Bosingwa and Julio Cesar for high transfer fees as well as lucrative wages for the players. They looked like they had patched a piece-meal side together that could comfortably finish mid-table, but then went on one of the worst runs of Premier League history, failing to win any of their first 17 league matches. Manager Mark Hughes was fired, Harry Redknapp was brought in and the team currently has two league wins under their belt.
The players brought in were most of the problem, looking uninterested in playing for QPR or playing with each other. They reeked of millionaires grazing in their green pasture waiting for the weekly five to six figure checks to be cashed, regardless of how well or poorly QPR did.
Ian Darke tweeted about QPR over the weekend, saying that to achieve survival, they would basically need to win half of their remaining games to stay in the Premier League. This seems like quite the tall order for a side that could hardly manage two wins in the first half of their games in the Premier League this year. Add that to the fact that every team in last place on Boxing Day has been relegated since the birth of the Premier League. It doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Remy could very well be the answer to QPR’s problems and could send them flying up the table toward valuable safety after his arrival. But with a lot of high wage bills and seemingly bored and aloof veterans who have seen greener pastures in club football in the past, this could just be another weight added onto them when they are hurled back into the turbulent waters of English lower-league football. Paying severance fees for those players or keeping them on while in the Championship is close to financial suicide for QPR. Should Remy’s signing not reap the rewards which were intended, QPR are in grave danger of a Portsmouth-esque fate.