Warnock dismisses Joe Cole rumours
Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock has laughed off speculation linking the club with a move for out-of-sorts Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.
Following their promotion to the Premier League as winners of the Championship, the rumours have already started as to who QPR may target in order to strengthen the squad for their first season back in the top flight for 15 years.
QPR have the financial clout of Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal, who all serve on the club's board, and Cole has been linked with a return to his native London with the newly-promoted side.
A part-exchange deal has been suggested in the English press, with QPR captain and star turn Adel Taarabt potentially heading up to Liverpool and England midfielder Cole moving to Loftus Road.
But Warnock insists that the wealthy trio of board members want the club to live within its means, so they will not shell out on the sort of wages a player like Cole would be expected to command.
"What we have here is perceived money," Warnock told the Evening Standard. "I don't think anyone wants to splash out fortunes. I think the Premier League will be a great league to be in, and I think the owners will really enjoy it, but they will want me to be as thrifty as I have been in the Championship, getting value for money and entertainment as best that we can without spending millions.
"I can't see them throwing money around with 18,000 crowds. I don't think they want to be self-sufficient, as that is difficult, but they don't want to be throwing money around stupidly. I see we have been linked with Joe Cole but I doubt we could afford a quarter of his wages."
When asked about his aims for next season, Warnock - who took Sheffield United into the Premier League but went straight back down after suffering relegation on the final day of the 2006-07 season - stressed that just staying in the top flight is the chief priority.
"If you gave me fourth from bottom next season, then I would accept that now," Warnock said. "The more years you have in the Premier League, the more chance you have of establishing and stabilising, such as Stoke or Bolton. I think QPR could become one of those clubs but you have to stay in the Premier League to do that.
"That can be a goal for us but we are nowhere near good enough to be top half of the Premier League at the moment. And Stoke have improved every year if you look at their signings. They have spent a lot of money on some of them, and have increased the quality of their players year on year, and that is the art of it.
"I thought we could do that when I was at Sheffield United but we only spent around £2 million in the Premier League, whereas here we need to invest a bit more than that."