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Sep 3, 2014

How did QPR do in the window?

QPR manager Harry Redknapp discusses the latest on Loic Remy's transfer to Chelsea following his team's 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Ins and Outs

Players in: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free), Steven Caulker (Cardiff, 8 million pounds), Jack Robinson (Liverpool, undisclosed), Alex McCarthy (Reading, undisclosed), Jordon Mutch (Cardiff, undisclosed), Mauricio Isla (Juventus, loan), Leroy Fer (Norwich, undisclosed), Eduardo Vargas (Napoli, loan), Danny Simpson (Leicester, undisclosed), Sandro (Tottenham, undisclosed), Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev, loan)

Players out: Yossi Benayoun (Maccabi Haifa, undisclosed), Esteban Granero (Real Sociedad, undisclosed), Julio Cesar (Benfica, released), Tom Hitchcock (MK Dons, released), Aaron Hughes (Brighton & Hove Albion, released), Mo Shariff (Bradford City, released), Gary O'Neil (Norwich City, released), Joe Lumley (Accrington Stanley, Loan), Angelo Balanta (Bradford, released), Hogan Ephraim (released), Andrew Johnson (released), Stéphane Mbia (released)

Summing up the window

The value of the Ferdinand deal still hangs in the balance. He was culpable for the only goal in the defeat against Hull and was one of many poor performers in the 4-0 rout at Spurs. It's a huge gamble building the team around one player -- the physical demands are going to be tenfold to what he faced on a weekly basis at Manchester United, where they were almost always in possession and a goal or two ahead.

Caulker is good business whether the Hoops are in the Premier League or lower. With better set pieces, he should also get a handful of goals. Mutch is a fine addition, and Fer, who had a dismal debut at Spurs, impressed in the win over Sunderland. Isla looked good in a cultured Chile squad at the World Cup, as did Vargas. The transition from World Cup to relegation scrap will be a testing one, but they are worth the gamble. Sandro is a great signing, but 30-year-old Kranjcar looked a spent force last season. The loss of Remy and the failure to replace him is a massive blow. 5/10.

Best piece of business

Caulker is the one that stands out as the most sensible deal -- the one that most other clubs with a similar stature and budget could, or should, be jealous of. He is hungry and cost a fair sum in a climate in which promising British players are costing huge amounts. Hopefully the influences of Ferdinand, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill will help him mature and master his position. Caulker and the rest of the defensive unit looked lost playing in a back three -- but seen as that hare-brained scheme was axed after 1½ matches, things are looking up for Caulker & Co.

Harry Redknapp opted to rely on the loan market to strengthen his QPR side.
Harry Redknapp opted to rely on the loan market to strengthen his QPR side.

Worst piece of business

At the moment, it is Ferdinand, not because he has played especially badly, but because the 3-5-2 formation that had been devised around him got Rangers zero points and was binned shortly after. Make no mistake: If QPR's fortunes take a sudden upturn, then chances are it will be largely down to Ferdinand's experience and quality, but, sadly, when things are going wrong, it'll probably be Ferdinand who takes the flak for failures. And, no matter how bad things get for Rangers and Ferdinand personally, Redknapp will never be able to drop him to the subs bench due to his prestige, so there is a lot of pressure on the former England star.

What remaining issues are there?

Remy leaving the club at 12 o'clock on Saturday afternoon before the Sunderland match was a huge blow, but it has been expected. There was no real time left to find a replacement, so goals are going to be hard to come by until January at least. Vargas is a classy second striker whom Redknapp will have at his disposal to face Manchester United after the international break.

Who can help in January?

Rangers almost signed Jermain Defoe from Toronto FC on the final day of the summer transfer window, but the transaction was cancelled at the last minute because the MLS side felt it would wreck their season. It does appear, however, the door has been left open for the deal to be revisited in January. With former Tottenham men Sandro, Kranjcar and Caulker all at Loftus Road, it would mean Defoe walks into a dressing room full of friendly faces after Christmas. While the summer window was in full swing, Rangers were rooted to the foot of the table with no points and a formation that looked set against keeping them there. But if they are looking half alive by January, then they should be able to drag in another striker, like Defoe, to keep them up.

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