After strengthening his defence with the acquisition of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker, Harry Redknapp’s third signing of the summer saw Jordon Mutch arrive at QPR from Cardiff City. The midfielder has signed a four-year deal with the Loftus Road outfit and follows former Bluebirds team-mate Caulker back into the Premier League just three months after the Welsh club dropped down into the Championship.
Discussing his move with the R’s official website, Mutch was delighted to be given the chance to prove himself in the English top-flight once again:
“I don’t see a better place for me than QPR at the moment. The club is heading in the right direction and I’m really excited about the season ahead. I thought I had a good first season in the Premier League last year with Cardiff, so I was delighted when QPR came in for me and offered a route back to the top flight. I’m really happy to be here and hopefully we can do well this season.”
Mutch spent five years in the Derby County youth system before moving to Birmingham City as a 15-year-old in 2007. Handed his debut by the St Andrews outfit the following year, Mutch was then confined to a wheelchair for three months after his rapid rate of growth caused fractures in both feet.
Fully recovered, he was sent out on loan to Hereford Town (four appearances) and Doncaster Rovers (two goals in 17 league games) in 2009/10 before being farmed out to Watford the following season, where he netted five times and provided six assists in 23 matches. Mutch was unable to convince the Blues of his worth, though, and, after a total of two goals and nine assists in 36 outings, was sold to Cardiff in June 2012.
The midfielder’s first season with the Bluebirds was far from impressive, though. Mutch failed to produce any returns over 22 Championship appearances and was far from our Fantasy radars when the Welsh outfit arrived in the Premier League last summer. Initially, his Fantasy fortunes looked non-existent after he was handed just one minute’s game time in the opening five matches but Mutch’s eye for goal prevailed, as he proceeded to serve up seven goals and five assists over the course of his first year in the English top division.
On the international stage, the 22-year-old has featured at youth level a total of nine times for England but is yet to make the step up to the senior side.
There’s no doubt Redknapp requires a goal-getting presence in midfield to take the pressure off Charlie Austin up front. Last season, Junior Hoilett was top scoring midfielder for the R’s with just four goals in 38 Championship appearances and although the Canadian has impressed over the summer, Redknapp’ admitted Mutch’s record in the Premier League was a big factor in persuading him to splash the cash:
“Jordon’s a fine young player, with a big, big future. He’s already shown what he can do at this level with Cardiff last season with a decent goals return – and this move will provide him with a great platform to take his game on to the next level. He wants to learn and improve his game. He’s a good pro with a great attitude and this is a big opportunity for him at QPR.”
Despite being limited to 2,399 minutes for the Bluebirds last year, Mutch still managed a total of 55 attempts last year. This equates to 43.6 minutes per shot – put into perspective, it’s just behind Eden Hazard (41.5), Christian Eriksen (42.2) and David Silva (42.4). In terms of minutes per goal, the QPR new boy’s average of 342.7 minutes in 2013/14 was quicker than the likes of Adam Lallana and Juan Mata (355.8) and underlines his potential.
Indeed, Mutch’s arrival looks to put pressure on Hoilett for the season ahead. A recent change in tactics has seen Redknapp roll out a 3-4-1-2 formation over the summer, with Hoilett stationed behind the front pair, but the Canadian may be forced out wide or even onto the bench if the R’s boss turns to the more prolific Mutch to take up the role in “the hole”.
After proving himself as a genuine budget option last term, Mutch could be set for further investment once again. Yet to be listed in the Fantasy games, a cost of 5.5 (the same as Adel Taarabt) looks the likeliest scenario in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game on the back of last season’s heroics for the Bluebirds – more expensive than the likes of Hoilett and Joey Barton (5.0), for example, but as the numbers above suggest, Mutch’s frequency of attempts is more in line with pricier alternatives.
With home encounters against Hull, Sunderland and Stoke in the first five Gameweeks, Redknapp’s side have a decent opening run in front of their own fans. Certainly, trips to Spurs and United dent their opening appeal but, bearing in mind Mutch scored three times against Liverpool and also netted against Chelsea last season, it’s fair to say that Redknapp’s new acquisition has already shown signs that he’s more than capable of rising to the occasion.