Upon hearing the news last night that QPR appear to have snuck in ahead of Newcastle United to sign France international Loic Remy from Marseille, Early Doors immediately thought of that classic line from Mrs Merton, delivered to Debbie McGee: “What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”
Because on the face of things it is difficult to see what attracted Remy to the Premier League’s bottom club. If factors like league position, size of club or enthusiasm of fan base were considerations, then surely Remy would be coughing for the doctors on Tyneside as we speak and planning his first appearance on Bigg Market Banter.
So why would you join QPR? The obvious answer is the millionaire Tony Fernandes and his overworked chequebook.
Remy looked all set to finalise an £8 million move to Newcastle but never materialised in the North East after being made a late offer from a Rangers side desperate to bring in quality in the transfer window and ready to spend to make it happen. Again.
Remy would not even countenance speaking with Harry Redknapp when QPR first showed an interest, but money certainly talked, and it is suggested that the London club offered him £80,000 per week, twice what Newcastle were willing to pay a player they had identified as their replacement for Demba Ba.
Which is funny, because ED could have sworn that all season responsibility for QPR’s plight has been laid at the feet of dastardly, mercenary foreigners, who are allegedly fleecing the club for cash while not caring about their plight.
As Clint Hill said before he got embarrassed at the hands of Luis Suarez in a game against Liverpool at the end of the year: “I hope they’re hurting because if not they shouldn’t be here. If you speak to people like me and Shaun Derry, we spent most our career in the lower leagues and have had a different kind of upbringing.
“But some of the foreign players have different cultures and different ways. Do they get taught that losing is hard to accept? I don’t know. It’s a different mentality but it should hurt everyone, no matter what country you come from.”
Presumably Clint will be enthusiastically quizzing his new team-mate on his upbringing and his cultural attitudes towards defeat as soon as he steps into the dressing room.
The whole English/foreign thing is a complete red herring anyway. What matters is a player’s character and motivation, not his passport. It is not the fact that Remy is French that might arouse suspicion, but the fact that a player deemed good enough to play for France has chosen to join a club stranded at the bottom of the table.
It appears he may also be joined by an international team-mate, with reports indicating that Yann M’Vila – or as The Sun describes him this morning, “Rennes’ bad-boy midfield marauder” – is also set to sign for QPR for around £7 million.
One can only imagine what Joey Barton has been telling people in France about QPR if two of Ligue 1’s more prominent talents are ready to join the club this month – either that or they got a glance at his wage slip.
ED has no real clue about M’Vila or Remy’s thought process – perhaps they just really want to move to London, and that certainly isn’t out of the question – but given the state QPR are in, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that money is playing a big part, and unless their agents are complete morons, they will have some kind of relegation release clause built into their contracts if indeed they do sign.
They will effectively be guns for hire for four months – players with a professional incentive to avoid relegation, but also presumably safe in the knowledge that an escape route is there should they fail to do so. If QPR do go down, it won’t be their fault.
This could work for QPR – Remy and M’Vila could be the spark they need to escape the relegation zone – but that relies on two French players settling immediately into the English game, in a relegation battle no less. It’s a big, big gamble. If it comes off they have two fine players for next season - if it doesn’t, then there will probably be a monetary cost in terms of moving both players on.
Redknapp’s willingness to lure big-name players to QPR on big wages is all the more strange given his recent pronouncements on the matter of finance. After a 1-0 loss to Newcastle, no less, in December, he famously railed against the wages some of his players were taking home.
"There are a lot of players at this club who earn far too much money," he said. "Far too much for their ability and what they give to the club. I don't really want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past.
"A lot of agents made money out of them [the club's owners]. I fined a player last week and he was earning more than any player earned at Tottenham. You shouldn't be paying massive wages when you've got a stadium that holds 18,000 people. Newcastle holds 52,000 and most of their players will be nowhere near some of the wages some of the players are earning here."
You said it, Harry.
In theory, Remy and M’Vila could do for QPR what compatriot Christophe Dugarry once did for Birmingham and arrive at a struggling team to inspire an upturn in form. But if they don’t, the millionaire Tony Fernandes might feel like he has had his pants pulled down again.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This was just a very, I would say, a small boos. Stars are always booed so I'm a star, you have to take it this way. I thought that the public in the Olympic Games, they would be a little bit better educated." – Sepp Blatter makes more friends when reflecting on being booed at the Olympic Stadium during the summer Games.
FOREIGN VIEW: "There could not be a better place to go. In England you feel the real passion for the game. It's not just about passion for clubs, it's mainly about passion for football. My memories are great. I loved it from the first day to the last. I don't regret my last day because after that I was lucky enough to enjoy Italy and to have and enjoy some success there and also in Spain. But I know that one day I will come back because English football means a lot to myself." – Yep, he’s at it again. Asked to record special video message to the FA for its 150th anniversary, Jose Mourinho penned another love letter to English football.
COMING UP: There are no less than nine FA Cup third-round replays on tonight – with West Brom v QPR probably the pick of the bunch - and you can check out all the team news here. Before then, Hot or Not looks at the funny moments from the weekend while the Whistle Blower also pops in to examine the more controversial ones. James Horncastle files his latest blog on Serie A in Pitchside Europe too.