Queens Park Rangers put on a good display for prospective new owner Tony Fernandes, who was on hand in Italy this weekend to see them win the Bortolotti Trofeo tournament.
More important than winning the brief, three-team weekend tournament, multiple outlets are that Formula One team owner Tony Fernandes was in the stands with current majority shareholder Bernie Eccelstone and his partner, Flavio Briatore.
Hoops manager Neil Warnock told the Daily Mail:
"Myself, Flavio and Tony all had a positive chat after the match on Saturday.
"We've already spoken about possible targets and he is a very positive chap."
Eccelstone announced in March that he might be interested in selling his 69% stake in the company, for £100 million pounds. The club acknowledged there had been discussions with an undisclosed party, but those fell through and last week released an official statement that new negotiations were underway.
Speculation quickly fell to Fernandes, who failed in his bid to obtain West Ham in January 2010. Warnock confirmed the suitor in his comments to the Daily Mail. The Mail article went on to say that £10 million in transfer fees may be available to Warnock once Fernandes takes over, and it is believed that the talks are at an advanced stage. The Premier League season kicks off in thirteen days, and the transfer window closes in one month. There is plenty of time to get deals done, and R's fans are eagerly awaiting new developments.
The Italian trip, against Serie A level talent, exposed some offensive and defensive issues, notably in the wings and at left back. Under the existing regime, manager Neil Warnock's financial hands have been tied behind his back, and the availability of quality players on free transfers has been minimal. The club has already missed out on targets due to the constraints, such as Tottenham's Kyle Naughton who signed with Norwich, and Wayne Routledge, who performed well while on loan at QPR last season. Despite Warnock's interest in him, the England winger was sold to Swansea for £1.5 million pounds this weekend. Other reports have the R's chasing Southhampton castoff Jason Puncheon, and other names continue to be floated such as Ireland striker Robbie Keane.
If the club's ownership does change hands quickly, there is still time to act and bring in some quality players before the end of the month. One possible target is Liverpool's Joe Cole, who seems expendable following their endless line of new midfield acquisitions this summer. Cole's fitness and wages are probably the biggest obstacle, but QPR needs to make the most of whatever the new owner commits to them. Given what he's been able to do without a budget, its a fair bet that Neil Warnock will do just that.
The R's defeated Atalanta in penalties Saturday night, following a tough match against the recently promoted Serie B champions. Alejandro Faurlin put the R's ahead 1-0 in the short match, before the Italian squad drew level on a shot from forward Simone Padoin. From the spot, Jay Bothroyd and Adel Taarabt scored to leave it level at two each. Trialist keeper Brian Murphy made a great save and it was up to Bradley Orr to finish the job, who drilled a perfect strike to the right side. Atalanta midfielder Daniele Capelli hit the post on Atalanta's final shot and the victory was assured.
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