To Spend or Not to Spend ? That is the Question

Queen’s Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp may well be mulling over this very conundrum after his side pulled off an extraordinary 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Fresh from humiliation against Liverpool on Sunday, QPR turned from a disorganised, inept rabble into a side capable of ending the Blues’ four-game winning streak.

Ryan Nelsen was once again colossal at the back, belying any concerns about his age and putting painful memories of Luis Suarez to bed.

In the lone striker role, Adel Taarabt put in arguably the most mature display of his career and set up Shaun Wright-Phillips for the winner with 12 minutes remaining.

While the mood following the 0-3 catastrophe at the weekend had been one of desolation, the idea that the R’s can avoid relegation is beginning to gain currency.

Having claimed that one win could alter perceptions both inside the club and out, Redknapp appeared to be a little naive, as precisely nothing changed following the 2-1 victory over Fulham last month.

However, such is the gravitas of success at Stamford Bridge that not only should the result boost confidence exponentially among the players, it may well send out a message to potential transfer targets.

Far from being dead and buried, Rangers created the perception that, with a little good fortune and the reciprocal effort, a resurgent spell is not beyond them.

Reinforcements have already arrived in the shape of Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell. The latter a particularly welcome sight having been treated appallingly by the club previously.

Although the ability to regularly reproduce such a seminal performance as Wednesday’s may still be beyond this team, Redknapp now has tangible evidence to point to when courting new players. It only takes one spark to light a fire, and one would have to imagine that the R’s could not have failed to be inspired and buoyed by what they achieved on Wednesday night.

The fact that over the next couple of months QPR face Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at home plus West Ham and Swansea City away means that the fight back, quite simply, had to begin in SW6.

One would imagine that Redknapp, having promised “I’ll keep us safe” on Sunday to widespread ridicule, particularly enjoyed the show on Wednesday night. He can approach the Board, who will not want to jeopardise a potential great escape, in order to ask for financial backing.

Imagine Tony Fernandes refusing to acquiesce the suspension of disbelief, and over the next couple of weeks it would be reasonable to expect a handful of new arrivals. Central defence remains a top priority. Indeed the entire back-line probably should be strengthened, while another forward with goalscoring pedigree would not go amiss.
tony thinking
During his post-match conference Redknapp claimed that he would be looking to sign former Blues defender Tal Ben Haim, with the 30-year-old having last played at Portsmouth. Inspiring, no, but still capable, perhaps. Ben Haim could be an expensive risk, and wages is certainly not an area the club can afford to splash out on anymore.

Scepticism comes easily with players over a certain age whose best days are arguably behind them, particularly given the impact made by “proven” individuals such as Ji-sung Park thus far.

Furthermore, the success of Paul Lambert at Norwich City and Brendan Rogers during his time with the Swans was not achieved through short-term gambles, but planning over several years and the inspired recruitment of young, hungry players.

However, given that the only other option is to accept that, after having had a moment in the sun, it will all end in relegation, perhaps it is time to say: “In Harry We Trust”.

Chris King

Twitter: @chriskking