Over the past few weeks, Queen’s Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has been offering a one-man commentary on the deliberations, desires, thoughts and ambitions of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Scott Parker.
Four days ago, the former Tottenham Hotspur boss announced that a “good offer” had been agreed with his former club for the England international, who just had to “make his mind up now if he wants to come here”.
The day before, Redknapp said: “We’re hoping of getting Scotty signed soon. He’s a great lad and will be a really good signing for us”. This came after owner Tony Fernandes stepped in personally to try and secure the deal last month. Yet despite what amounts to almost live blogging of progress regarding the 32-year-old by the club, Parker penned a deal with West London neighbours Fulham, unsurprisingly opting for Premier League football over the Championship.
While nobody will blame the one-time Chelsea man for choosing to enhance his England prospects with the Cottagers rather than kissing his international career goodbye, it begs the question: why did Redknapp not see this coming ?
Ignoring the fair point that QPR have centred their summer transfer policy around strengthening central midfield, leading to the R’s amassing more players in this position than any club could ever need, it seems Parker was intended as a “marquee signing”.
After all, similarly experienced Gary O’Neil was brought in two weeks ago, but the former Portsmouth enforcer lacks the apparently necessary star value, as does Karl Henry, also the wrong side of 30 years old, recruited last month.
Rangers do not need Parker, especially as natural central midfielder Joey Barton is currently being played out of position on the wing, and if ‘Football Manager’ has taught me anything, it is that signing player after player in one position is always detrimental.
Instead, the Superhoops ought to be focusing on bringing in another option upfront, as the often-injured Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson will surely not last the entire season, leaving just Charlie Austin to shoulder the goalscoring burden.
Despite the embarrassment of QPR once again, and thoroughly predictably, losing out on a transfer target after spending weeks and months laying out the red carpet, the season has started well and Redknapp has turned the team’s fortunes around.
Against Liverpool on the final day of last season, Rangers were hopeless, anonymous and utterly defeated, all team spirit had disappeared, morale among the supporters was at an all-time low, and the R’s were a laughing stock.
Whatever Redknapp is doing appears to be working, and like many QPR fans, I believe the levels of performance, motivation, commitment and attacking flair currently on show are far more indicative of the manager’s obvious abilities.
There remains, however, a feeling that QPR may never learn how to do things properly: that is, not to conduct business in public and avoid being duped into signing expensive Premier League journeymen on inflated salaries.
One of the most satisfying moments, barring Chelsea away in January, of recent Rangers fandom came on Saturday when Tom Hitchcock scored the winner. Often neglected in W12, youth players could just be the answer. Parker and Gary Hooper, unfortunately, never were.