QPR Team Guide: Ferdinand and Caulker can help Harry survive
Team Name: Queens Park Rangers
Manager: Harry Redknapp
Last Season: 3rd in Championship (Play-off Winners)
Who they’ve signed so far: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free), Steven Caulker (Cardiff City, undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (Cardiff City, undisclosed), Mauricio Isla (Juventus, loan)
Out of the exit door: Aaron Hughes (released), Stephane M’Bia (released), Andrew Johnson (released), Luke Young (released), Hogan Ephraim (released), Angelo Balanta (released), Tom Hitchcock (released), Yossi Benayoun (Maccabi Haifa, undisclosed), Esteban Granero (Real Sociedad, undisclosed).
Star Man: Junior Hoilett
Bobby Zamora may have taken most of the plaudits after scoring 10-man QPR’s only chance in the playoff final win against Derby last season but that opportunity would never have come had it not been for the efforts and assist of Hoilett.
One of the more consistent performers for the Loftus Road club last term, the 24-year-old has what it takes to make a real impact in the Premier League, having impressed at the top-level with previous club Blackburn Rovers.
An effective dribbler who can play anywhere across the midfield, he could once again be crucial to the likes of Zamora getting on the score sheet, though he could do with scoring a few more goals himself, having netted seven times in his last top-flight campaign with Rovers.
Under the Radar: Jordan Mutch
The summer acquisitions of defenders Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker should be commended along with the arrival of the versatile Mauricio Isla on-loan but arguably Harry Redknapp’s biggest coup has come in bringing in Jordan Mutch from Cardiff.
Mutch was among the stand-out performers for the Bluebirds last term, scoring seven top-flight goals for the club, including a last-gasp screamer against Fulham in late September which sealed Cardiff’s first away win in the top-flight since November 1961.
A product of the Birmingham City youth academy, where he was named player of the year in 2008, Mutch has taken an altogether different route to the top of the game but could be one to watch for QPR this season.
Team Liability: Armand Traore
Yet to fulfil the potential he showed in his younger days with Arsenal, Armand Traore’s time at Loftus Road looked to be coming to an end after the France-born star suffered a dip in form last term and was duly dropped by Harry Redknapp.
But with Benoit Assou-Ekotto returning to Tottenham, it would appear that Harry has had a change of heart, with Traore putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract with the club last month.
An undoubtedly talented player, the full-back continues to suffer from lapses in concentration and after failing to impress in the Championship for long spells last term, it could be a long season for the player that once spent time on loan at Juventus.
Check out Traore’s first goal for QPR against Ipswich Town last season.
Title Odds: 5000/1
Best Bet: QPR to be best promoted team @ 6/4
Our Verdict: The arrivals of Caulker and Ferdinand should provide QPR with the solid base required to survive in the Premier League.
Rangers’ midfield also boasts plenty in the way of Premier League experience, but it’s up front where there should be some cause for concern.
However that situation could change depending on whether Loic Remy engineers a move away from the club this summer. Stay, and the Londoners have the 20-goal-a-season striker they need to make a go of things.
Go, and they just have Zamora and the unproven Charlie Austin. Nevertheless, they should have enough to survive…just.
All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing
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