Transfer savvy Harry Redknapp struggling to find recruits for QPR
Harry Redknapp is a renowed for being a savvy operator during transfer windows, but the QPR boss is struggling this January
Despite Harry Reknapp’s reputation for sniffing out transfer-window bargains the Queens Park Rangers manager readily admits it’s been a tough January so far, with no new signings at Loftus Road.
The Hoops manager was reluctant to discuss potential signings upon replacing Mark Hughes at the helm of the Premier League’s basement club, insisting results would dictate his activity in the market.
QPR went on to pick up nine points from a possible 27, giving them a fighting chance of survival, and with the Christmas and New Year celebrations over, it had been expected that the Loftus Road would be a hive of activity with the January sales in full swing.
But despite Redknapp openly admitting he is unhappy with his current squad, QPR have struggled to convince their top targets to roll their sleeves up and contribute to the club’s attempts to complete perhaps the greatest of great escapes.
“It hinges on money and where the club is at the moment,” admitted a frustrated Redknapp.
“Who’s going to sell good players at this time of year? You don’t want to let players go.”
Where’s the area of most pressing concern for Redknapp? It’s the attacking department. With Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora both long-term absentees through injury and Djibril Cisse misfiring, QPR’s frontline is looking rather blunt.
“If you look through the club, it’s an area [strikers] where we are short. But how are you going to find them? It’s so difficult at this time of year.
“Clubs don’t want to let people go, and unless you’re going to pay crazy money for strikers. I’ve looked everywhere but I’m struggling to come up with anything.”
Following last week’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup third round, Redknapp jetted to France to watch Loïc Remy, who the R’s boss has admired since his Tottenham Hotspur days.
But while the Marseille forward was interested in a possible move to Champions League-chasing Spurs last season, the prospect of a switch to an alternative London club with differing objectives did not appeal.
Such was Remy’s disinterest in touted transfer to Loftus Road, Redknapp failed to even meet face-to-face with the 26-year-old after L’OM’s Coupe de France win against Guingamp.
“He didn’t want to come. Being bottom doesn’t help. If there’s other clubs in England after the same player, it can be difficult.
“I went over last week to watch Remy play – not that I needed to watch him because I had watched him about seven times at Tottenham. He didn’t want to even speak about coming.”
It’s a point of frustration for Redknapp, who holds no grudges against the striker’s failure to discuss a move with the QPR boss, as he
feels Remy would have benefited from a move to the Premier League.
“I think it would have been good for him to come. He’d be playing in the Premier League.
“If he came and scored some goals for us and tried to help us stay up, if the worst came to the worst and we couldn’t survive, least he’s in the shop window and some of the big clubs might want him.
“If he did score the goals that he could, there would be every chance we could stay up.”
Of course, in typical Redknapp fashion, he refused to extinguish all hope of completing an unlikely deal for Remy: “I wouldn’t write him off completely, but it’s going to be a difficult one.”
So with Remy all but out of the picture, which player is the Hoops manager now perusing? Not Álvaro Negredo.
Sevilla are keen to cash in on the Spain international, who was linked with a move to Tottenham during Redknapp’s reign, and Spurs are believed to be leading the current race to sign striker.
Redknapp rates the 27-year-old, but conceded that QPR would struggle to pull together the money to complete a deal to bring Negredo to Loftus Road.
“We’re in the auction. We’ve put a bid,” joked Redknapp.
“We’ve started the auction. You know one of the auctions where you make a bid but you don’t actually want to buy. We’re there. I’m in at £1m.
“I might even get to £15m and push Daniel [Levy] to £16m. If he doesn’t come back in, my God, we’re in trouble! I like Negredo but we haven’t got £15m – that’s for sure!”
Back to more serious transfer talk, and Redknapp revealed that he has spoken to his former chairman Daniel Levy about signing Jake Livermore during a phone call between the pair on Thursday.
However, the Hoops boss is experienced enough to know that the Tottenham supremo won’t be doing him any favours despite their past working relationship, with Levy understandably looking to get the best value for Spurs.
“They’ve a few players there and I was just seeing if there were any players who I felt could help,” he said.
“He isn’t going to say, ‘Good old Harry, I love QPR’. He’ll help himself. He won’t give us a special deal because it’s me.
“He’ll look to get whatever he thinks the value of someone is and that’s what he’ll want. It’s his time of year, January. He loves it.
“Last day of the season, he’ll be out for his two for one deals or buy one get one free deals, that’s how he works.”
And perhaps that’s when we’ll see the QPR manager at his busiest. After all, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus, and the transfer window wouldn’t be the transfer window without Harry Redknapp.