Could he return to his former glory? - Dmitry Korotayev
Everyone's favorite transfer window magician (and over-spender of other people's money) Harry Redknapp has been at it again today bringing in another group expensive recruits to supplement his already expensive roster. How will it work out? What do fantasy managers need to know?
There he goes again. Good old 'arry is back in his element at the bottom of the table and spending a ton of other people's money in an attempt to avoid relegation. He started the month slowly picking up former player Tal Ben Haim (who has been washed up for quite some time) on a free early in the month. He picked up steam with the acquisition of Loic Remy just after the halfway point of the month. Today, on what agents everywhere should celebrate as "Harry Day" for the way he throws money around, he has roared back to life with the acquisitions of Chris Samba, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and maybe Peter Odemwingie (although it sounds like that one will merit an entire feature-length post of it's own come tomorrow whether he heads to Loftus Road or not). Here's the breakdown of each of these players and their fantasy prospects:
Christopher Samba - The gigantic defender is definitely the headliner in this group for a bunch of reasons. The price to acquire him in transfer fee and salary is rumored to be insane (upwards of £40M) but more importantly QPR have been struggling most of the season with aging and/or poor defenders like Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen (who we love from his time at DC United but is WELL past it to the extent he has already signed on to manage in MLS), and the extremely mediocre Anton Ferdinand. Samba immediately given the Rs a solid presence and offers fantasy managers an inexpensive path to a player who, not too long ago, was a premium priced defender capable of scoring goals. He's definitely one to pick up once he's available.
David Bentley - We fondly recall a time when his name around these parts was Blog Favorite David Bentley (BFDB for short in days when we cared less about things like search engine optimization). That was mostly when he was with Rovers playing a creative role that included taking a high percentage of the set pieces. After a few seasons in the wilderness at Spurs one wonders how prepared he is to contribute at anything near the height of his abilities. He is still only 28 years old but he's only played 67 competitive matches since signing for Spurs in 2008 including loan spells with Birmingham, West Ham, and FC Rostov over the last couple of seasons. Throw in the fact that Adel Taarabt dominates the ball in midfield and on set pieces for the Rs the way Bentley used to at Rovers and it seems unlikely that Bentley will get a chance to shine to his former glory even if he does get a regular place in the line-up. Given a very low price (5.85) we'll certainly be watching closely to see if we're wrong but don't get suckered in on this one too quickly based on fond memories of fantasy greatness (or at least very good-ness) gone by.
Jermaine Jenas - Unlikely Bentley, Jenas has never been a very good fantasy player even when he was playing on a regular basis at Newcastle and earlier in his Spurs career. One assumes that this is as much about Harry getting "his guys" in the changing room as it is an upgrade in talent. Maybe Spurs forced him to take Jenas off their hands for the right to the David Bentley lottery ticket. Hard to say but what isn't hard to say is that there is unlikely to be much fantasy value in Mr. Jenas.
Peter Odemwingie - As of this writing, Odemwingie had driven to Loftus Road without the permission of West Brom management in an attempt to force a transfer (presumably one that would dramatically increase his pay packet) to QPR. Odemwingie really had one good season in the Premier League, the 2010-11 season where he scored 15 goals in 32 Premier League matches for the Baggies. Since then he fell to 10 goals in 32 last season and 5 in 18 so far this season. If I were West Brom, I'd take the money and run on what appears to be a declining 31 year old asset. If he does go to Loftus Road there is some reason for hope as he'll likely start more that the 13 matches he has gotten so far. Still, with a relatively high price in fantasy as an existing Premier League player, the chances of a huge boost based on change of scenery seem slim. The real worry here is that he might cut into the opportunities for fellow new-comer Loic Remy.
So, there's the rundown on QPR's transfer window business. Mystifying why they've spent their money the way they have but presumably there are big bonuses all around if they stay up for another season. I do fear for the downside if they don't. With the salary obligations they have they'll be out of business REALLY fast.