Many of those NPower Championship winning players are still with the club and will contribute this season. Shaun Derry has continued to be a leader in central defense and earned a new contract this week. Ali Faurlin has played well, but may find himself fighting to stay in the starting XI with the arrival of Joey Barton. The defense has had a number of issues thus far, and its no coincidence that the club brought in four new defenders to reboot the back line. This leaves Bradley Orr, Fitz Hall, Matthew Connolly and Clint Hill to scrape for appearances.
Its hard to tell players that there are better men for the job, but when its the truth, it has to be done. QPR fans have not forgotten the contributions of these players, but hunger to see their club do better and achieve more. To that end, acquiring better players is part of the game and in a "what have you done for me lately?" world, it is survival of the fittest. Barton and Wright-Philips know as well as Buzsaky and Ephraim do that your starting job is only as secure as your last match.
Sentimentality aside, this is a much improved team. Thus far in the Premier League, QPR have been up and down, at times very solid and controlled, others looking like kids in the adults table. There is plenty of talent here now and ambitious players with a lot to prove. Combine that with the Sheffield product cajoling them from the touch line with his own mark to make, and this is a competitive team that wants to fight. QPR supporters have a lot to be happy about on September 1.
Here's a roundup of the new Super Hoops:
The Smith's quoting scouser was the biggest fish reeled in by QPR during a busy transfer window. He brings a bit of everything to the table - a box to box midfielder with an outsized passion and swagger who will be a focal point on the pitch. He'll open his R's campaign in a return to Newcastle on September 12. I'm sure that will be a dull affair...
The prize of Deadline Day, SWP is a big upgrade on the wing and offers Warnock some flexibility to shift Taarabt to a center attacking role with Tommy Smith or Puncheon on the other side. He'll bring experience, pace and creative attacking skills to bear and is another vital part of this rejuvenated squad.
Another Ferdinand? Can't it be Les? This iteration of the footballing clan will be another chink in the R's defensive armor, giving us a strong centre-back to pair with Gabbidon in front of Paddy Kenny.
The versatile full back was another improvement to the defense, arriving on a three year deal from Aston Villa. He can play on either side or in the middle and brings a wealth of experience and steadiness to the squad.
It seems like he should be in his mid thirties for how long we've been hearing about him, but Traore is still only 21. Despite his rise in the Arsenal ranks over the past few years, he's struggled to find first team work. Loan moves to Portsmouth and Juventus helped bring him along and Warnock called him his number one defensive target. With some more time and patience I think his upside will continue to develop, much in the way Taarabt did once he was given more opportunities.
The Transfer Window buzzer beater was on the Hoops radar for weeks, but they held off while pursuing bigger fish. He has experience from Blackpool's relegation fight last year, and offers speed on the wings which is a plus. He's on loan until January, which is a fair bit of time to evaluate what he can offer QPR without committing major money to him just yet.
At one time the only "big" money signing of the summer, DJ has been fighting off the virus that swept through the club and has missed the last two games. He looked strong in his debut against Bolton and should be ready to go against Newcastle. The excitement about landing him hasn't changed - now that the whole unit has gotten stronger, he should see more opportunities to score soon.
The first major signing of the campaign, Bothroyd has yet to open his account but has been battling a virus and has had his time limited. In the opening game and again at Everton he created chances and had a few good opportunities. Goals will come, especially now that the wings have been reinforced to create more supply.
Unfortunate own-goal against Bolton aside, through three league games Gab has been our best defender, making plays all over the pitch and giving everything from whistle to whistle. Now he'll have more support around him which should only help keep him a productive nuisance in the rear guard.
Don't rule him out, no matter how many gray clouds seem to be forever circling his head. He'll be back by October and Dyer could still be a major contributor again this season if he can get a bit of luck and stay out of the trainer's room. (Wood appropriately knocked, fingers and toes have the requisite crossing)
A small deal that didn't get much attention, QPR swooped in on this seventeen year old AC Milan product late this week. A few people scratched their head at the move, given the arrival of Brian Murphy over the summer and Radek Cerny's presence on the bench. One of the areas Fernandes is focused on is a commitment to the Academy, and developing talent from within. Trani may not make an appearance all season for the R's, but his arrival is a sign of this youth focus and Neil Warnock was very impressed with him in training.
Adding a bit of insult to injury, West Ham sold Scott Parker to Tottenham for £5 million pounds, just a notch above the £4 million bid Tony Fernandes launched the day he officially took over at Loftus Road. From the offing, this was never going to happen - the long simmering enmity between the owners stems back to Fernandes' ambitious attempt to secure the Hammers in 2010 which Sully and Gold rebuffed with their trademark subtlety and class. Their stated price of £8 million pounds was apparently flexible, just not for us. Nonetheless, QPR did well in the midfield despite not landing Parker.
Patrick Van Aanholt
The Chelsea starlet found himself loaned out to Wigan today, and was previously a specific target of Warnock's. He would have been a great addition to the back line, but with so many defenders coming in it looks like Chelsea wanted to see him get first team work more than anything. He'll get that at Wigan, and the R's will see what he's learned when they visit Loftus Road in January.
How come we weren't connected with him? Every other London club was. Oh, sorry Millwall.
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