“I don’t really want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past” claimed Harry Redknapp, after QPR’s miserable 1-0 defeat to an out of form Newcastle United in December. A mere 40 days later, he was finalising a £12.5 million deal with Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala for the former Blackburn Rovers defender, Christopher Samba.
With Samba picking up a reported £100,000 weekly wage, and £8 million striker Loic Remy’s reported £80,000 per week, relegation could be incredibly damaging to Queen’s Park Rangers’ future. If they do achieve survival, it will be seen as arguably Redknapp’s biggest feat and the January signings seen as a master stroke. But with just 7 games of the Premier League season left, and 8 points from safety, survival for Rangers is looking bleak. So are Harry’s transfer dealings really as good as history tells us?
His January signings seem to be, at first glance, a lot of money spent for very average players; Loic Remy had gone 8 games without scoring at Marseille and fallen down the pecking order, but his form in the blue and white shirt so far seems to point towards a good signing. Christopher Samba fits Redknapp’s bill perfectly in his quest to shore up the leaky defence, but his wage packet leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the fans. £100,000 per week is a lot of money for a club battling relegation, the kind of money only really seen at a club regularly in European competition.
‘Arry isn’t afraid to make bold moves in the transfer market though; in his Bournemouth days, he brought in many young players who went on to make a name for themselves – Steve Claridge, Efan Ekoku and Gavin Peacock to name three. During his 7 years at West Ham, Eyal Berkovic, John Hartson and a certain Paolo Di Canio were just some of the big names Harry brought in who achieved great success. However, at Portsmouth, Redknapp brought in 41 players in just 2 years at the club; Yakubu and Dejan Stefanovic being the only real quality signings. In his second stint at Fratton Park he spent an incredible £69 million in another 2 years; Glen Johnson, Sulley Muntari and Jermaine Defoe amongst others were brought in. Then owner Alexandre Gaydamak gave the spending spree the green light before leaving the club and withdrawing the funding, plunging Portsmouth into administration; the catalyst to where they are now. Tottenham saw some of Redknapp’s best acquisitions; Rafael Van Der Vaart from Real Madrid for a snip at £8 million probably the best coup of all. Along with the re-signing of Defoe, Peter Crouch and Nico Kranjcar, and later those of Sandro and Scott Parker, Redknapp had Spurs challenging for a top 4 place whilst making waves in their debut Champions League campaign.
As you can see, Harry is not afraid of a big signing, and certainly not afraid of a great deal for a big signing. If he manages the minor miracle and keeps Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, Christopher Samba will look like one of, if not the best piece of transfer business in Redknapp’s managerial career. If they do end up in the bottom three at the season’s end however, the fans will undoubtedly look south towards Fratton Park, and fear the worst for the future of their club.