January 1, 2000
pictured on one
of his rare first team
<span style=”font-family: Verdana,sans-serif;”> appearances
The January transfer window is now firmly shut and clubs in the Premier League will have to wait until the close season before they can do further business.
Aspirations for a top four finish, or top six at the very least, will now depend on the players in place; so too at the other end where clubs are already feeling the chill wind of relegation.
One such club would appear to be Queens Park Rangers, promoted only last May, and already taking dramatic action to avoid the drop first time around. A change of manager was made to trigger additions to strengthen the squad, with Mark Hughes thinking that goals hold the survival key; scoring them that is. Through the window comes not just one but two proven strikers to do the deed; a sort of double glazing.
Firstly QPR completed the signing of Lazio’s Djibril Cisse for a reported £4m. Cisse, 30, who signed a two and a half year deal, has failed to gain a regular starting place at Lazio following his summer move from Panathinaikos.
Mark Hughes told the club website:
“I’ve watched him for many years and always been impressed by what he brings to the table. His goal record is there for everyone to see. He’s scored goals wherever he’s played.
He was desperate to come here once we showed our interest in him and we can’t wait to get the best out of him.”
“When I talked to the manager, he spoke highly of the club and where he wants to take it over the next few years. He wanted to sign me at Manchester City and now I am finally here with him at QPR. He wants to achieve big things here; that was all I needed to hear from him.
“I have unfinished business here in England. The English league is the best in the world. It is the league that suits me the most.”
Cisse is best known in England for his three seasons at Liverpool, whom he joined in 2004 for £14m, scoring 11 goals in his first 23 games. The QPR boss had reportedly wanted to sign Cisse on loan initially, with the option of making the move permanent in June. However, both the player and Lazio have pushed for the deal to be permanent from the start, and QPR have now agreed. Hughes added:
“He’s a huge threat to oppositions’ defences. He’s got great pace, power and movement and that’s something we will hopefully benefit from.”
However, it is well to remember the French international suffered a horrific leg break that threatened to end his career. For Hughes and QPR’s sake, there are hopes that the player has fully recovered from the injury and fears that he may have not.
The new QPR gaffer also signed Fulham striker Bobby Zamora. Remember the Bristol Rovers reserve team partnership of Zamora and Ellington? I certainly do and have so often regretted that the pairing was never given a chance in the first team and wondered how it would have worked out for us if they had.
Now 31, Zamora has signed a two and a half year contract at Loftus Road for a fee believed to be in the region of £4m. On this deal, BBC sport reported Hughes as saying:
“We needed a player of his ilk at the football club and I couldn’t be more delighted, he’s a great foil for any team,”
He added; “Bobby is a guy that makes things happen on the pitch, be it scoring goals or creating chances for others. He’s got great power and pace and his technical ability is top class. He’s got an excellent left foot.” Don’t rub it in Mark!
Zamora, signed a four year deal with Fulham when Hughes was manager of the West London club. However the much travelled player said; “I think this was the right time for me to have a fresh challenge. I got on really well with the manager at Fulham. We all grew to like Mark. I think that will be the case here. He’s looking to take the club forward.”
So another fresh start then, Bobby, and don’t you really mean save the big spending QPR from the drop?
The double deal has already started to replay the faith shown in them with both scoring on their respective debuts. The loss at home to fellow strugglers Wolves marked Zamora’s first game, so his goal was not enough.
Still, Manager Hughes has backed his new strike force to help QPR avoid relegation.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing them play together, we have invested heavily but what I wanted was complementary skills and different skill sets within the group of strikers I have available and we’ve got that now.”
I can understand that, and for one I am looking forward to seeing how it works out over the coming weeks and months. What strikes me though is that QPR leak goals; 20 at home, 21 away and a goal difference of minus 16.
Perhaps a couple of several million pound rated defenders as well Mr Hughes! Now that would have been double glazing.