If Queens Park Rangers can navigate their way through a tricky run-in and stay up this season, then they could be a credit to the Premier League next year.
They have money to spend and a decent manager in Mark Hughes who, given time, could prove himself an adept mover in the transfer market again like in his days at Blackburn Rovers and Fulham.
They’re not to everyone’s liking given their brand of football and the presence of certain characters like Joey Barton, but Hughes is still dealing with what is essentially a Neil Warnock squad.
Give him time to clear out the deadwood and bring in more than stop-gap signings like Nedum Onuoha, Djibril Cissé and Taye Taiwo, and Hughes will have Loftus Road rocking – provided they can escape relegation.
But if they go down, don’t expect Hughes to stick around because as he showed with Fulham, he’s willing to put his own interests ahead of the club he works for.
If Newcastle United secure Europa League or even Champions League football next term then it could turn out to be their worst nightmare.
Mike Ashley will be salivating at the thought of the Champions League television money but the Europa League is more of a burden than a boon.
A long, drawn out campaign that starts in pre-season, little if any reward unless you win the competition and a fixture pile-up that would stretch any squad other than those of Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea.
Pardew’s side might be flying right now, and indeed their first-team is a match for any in the league with the brilliance of players like Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Papiss Cissé and Hatem Ben Arfa.
But take them away and Newcastle are left with some very average squad players – and unless Pardew plays the reserves in the Europa League, a European campaign could end up ruining the Toon next season.
That is why they must go all guns blazing for the Champions League – Newcastle can move to within two points of Arsenal with victory at Swansea, and their north London rivals have a tough test at home to Manchester City on Sunday.
If they can somehow sneak into that fourth spot, the almost-guaranteed money of a season in Europe’s premier competition might tempt Ashley to loosen the purse strings.
But they might not need that much money if head scout Graham Carr continues to pull rabbits out of his transfer hat.
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