Transfer Talk: QPR's summer so far
With the transfer window in full swing, ESPNFC's Queens Park Rangers blogger Wally Downes discusses how Harry Redknapp's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
IN -- Steven Caulker (Cardiff, eight million pounds) Rio Ferdinand (free agent)
OUT -- Aaron Hughes (released), Stephane Mbia (released) and Andrew Johnson (released) Luke Young (released), Hogan Ephraim (released), Angelo Balanta (released) and Tom Hitchcock (released)
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENTS
PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal | Aston Villa | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Hull City | Leicester City | Liverpool | Man City | Man Utd | Newcastle | QPR | Southampton | Stoke | Sunderland | Swansea | Tottenham | West Brom | West Ham
I reckon we have a budget of around 30 million pounds cash to spend on transfer fees after netting around 90 million pounds from promotion. But transfers these days are all about the wages -- you can spread a five million pound transfer fee over five years but 100,000 pounds a week wages will be demanded every seven days by the player.
A handful of players have already signed contract extensions, like Alejandro Faurlin, Armand Traore and Bobby Zamora but the squad is still light after a raft of players were released. The board is likely to suddenly get very enthused because we're back in the limelight so extra funds could come from above. I imagine new signing Rio Ferdinand's salary will take a fair chunk of the budget.
Rate your business so far
3/10 - A cathartic clear-out will help the wage bill going forward. The likes of Stephane Mbia and Andy Johnson contributed very little to the club for big money so getting them off the bill and out of the dressing room won't hurt.
The extensions for Ale Faurlin and Clint Hill were spiked by sentiment, Faurlin's after suffering two ACL injuries with us and Hill for being such a superb servant when so many others came and went. I think Gary O'Neil's selflessness in the playoff final and his versatility and Premier League experience also warrants another year, but he's still in talks over a one-year extension.
We need to get Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar off of our wage bill but he still has a season left on his contract and I can't see many clubs clambering over themselves to sign him after his World Cup. Ferdinand wasn't a good move in my opinion. His age, his injuries and wages just don't appeal to me right now, he's not relegation-scrap material, which is what we need. I don't know much about Sigthorsson; he could be the new Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or the next Andreas Cornelius.
Who should be sold?
It's never been a question of "who should be sold" at QPR it's "how do we sell him?" No team in their right mind would buy Julio Cesar last season and match his 100,000 pound a week wages so we loaned him out to Toronto.
Adel Taarabt should be sold for a few million and having Kia Joorabchian as his representative should grease the wheels in any deal to offload him somewhere exotic.
Loic Remy is our main asset, if we can't keep him then 8-10 million pounds will suffice but I would like to see him stay and have the team built around supplying him. It's sad to think we lost Raheem Sterling for just one million pounds a few years ago as I don't see us bringing through another young talent like that for a while.
Who should be signed?
Two central defenders and a goalscorer are desperately needed but anyone available that can add quality should be looked at as the squad is very thin.
Reports linking Frank Lampard with a move to Loftus Road immediately reminded me of the disastrous deals we did to sign Park Ji-Sung and Jose Bosingwa last time there was excitement in the air and cash on the hip in our little corner of west London -- hopefully we've learned from our many past mistakes.
We have Matt Phillips coming back from injury who will be like a fresh signing as he suffered a bad injury last season, just as he was coming into some form as he's one of the few players in the squad that offers real pace.
Problem solving: What do you need?
Central defence is the area that needs to be addressed most. Clint Hill and Richard Dunne were Titans back there last season -- especially in the playoffs -- but they are approaching the ends of the careers and speed is essential at the back in the top flight.
Ferdinand is a short-term option, at best, while 20-year-old Jamaal Lascelles is a target with a future. Steven Caulker is the one signing that I would like to see as he is the middle ground; he has Premier League experience -- in the relegation zone where we're likely to set up camp -- and he is hungry prove himself after Tottenham's rejection and Cardiff's relegation.