QPR’s bid for Premier League survival was bolstered this afternoon by the arrival of Loic Remy from Marseille on a four-and-half-year contract. Earlier this month, the 26-year-old had seemed all set to move to Newcastle but has opted instead for Loftus Road as a result of Tony Fernandes’ powers of persuasion:
According to the club’s official website, Remy’s deal, while remaining undisclosed, is believed to be a club record fee – a clear sign of their willingness to splash the cash to steer clear of relegation. Subject to international clearance, the Frenchman is eligible for the weekend trip to West Ham and his arrival has clearly made R’s boss Harry Redknapp a happy man:
“I’m delighted to bring him in – he’s a great buy for us. I didn’t think we’d get him to be honest but Tony Fernandes worked ever so hard on this. He wouldn’t give up on it, and it’s great that we now have him here with us. He’s always been a player I’ve admired. I actually spent three or four hours with him last year so he knew what I thought of him, and I think that was important. He’s quick, can score goals and makes great runs. His movement is excellent. He’s got the potential to be a really outstanding striker.”
A product of the Lyon youth academy, Remy made his debut for the club as a 19-year-old in October 2006. Turning out just 12 times – with 11 of these from the bench – over the next couple of campaigns, he was loaned out to Lens in the middle of 2007/08 and, installed as a first-team regular, returned three goals and a couple of assists in 10 appearances.
The following season, Remy was transferred to Nice, where he started to make his mark in the French top flight. A total of 68 appearances harvested 26 goals and eight assists before he was snapped up by Marseille prior to the end of the summer 2010 transfer window. His first couple of seasons demonstrated Remy’s abilities – he racked up 27 goals and 10 assists from a total of 51 league starts and nine sub appearances before he fell out of favour this term. Over 14 league matches in 2012/13, he has managed just a single goal, though 12 of those appearances have come as a substitute. Remy has also turned out for the French national side on 17 occasions, producing four goals and an assist.
Given the lengths they have gone to in order to acquire the Frenchman’s services, it’s safe to say Remy is guaranteed a starting berth over the remaining 16 Gameweeks of the season. While the new boy is versatile enough to also play on either flank, a central role is expected as Redknapp looks to Remy to fire the R’s to safety. The Loftus Road outfit have improved at the back significantly in recent matches and have now conceded a single goal in their last four in all competitions but this upturn in resilience has come at a cost – two goals scored in their last five league matches is indicative of their toothless attack.
Redknapp has never been convinced by the lacklustre Djibril Cisse and although Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell have both returned to the club from loan spells, neither will threaten Remy’s game time. Considering the step up in solidity at the back, Redknapp looks likely to continue with a lone striker system and rely on Adel Taarabt to provide the creative spark, either from the left or a role in “the hole” behind Remy. The Moroccan has created a multitude of chances this term but due to poor finishing from others, has just three assists to his name – he has, however, earned 35 points in the last six Gameweeks and is starting to pick up in performance; if Remy can provide an end product, Taarabt’s mid-price appeal could be boosted.
Intriguingly, Remy started through the middle four times in all competitions for Marseille this season and produced two goals and an assist – if given the service and game time, he’s more than capable of producing. Strong, pacey and impressive in the air, his attributes seem ideal for the English top-flight – as Redknapp admitted yesterday, his attempts to acquire him for former club Tottenham were quelled only by a £20m price tag.
In Fantasy Premier League (FPL) terms, both Cisse and Bobby Zamora started the season at 6.5; an indication of Remy’s likely cost, with a ceiling of 7.0 expected. Having taken four points off Chelsea and Spurs in their last two, Redknapp’s side certainly have cause for optimism as they brace themselves for the visit of both Manchester clubs in the next five –currently sitting five points from safety, they also face Norwich and Swansea before United come calling in Gameweek 27.
With Fernandes expected to continue bankrolling the club’s spending spree before the winter window closes, Redknapp’s side looks set for further additions over the next fortnight as the first-team rapidly evolves under the new regime. As the R’s and Wigan both showed in the latter part of last season, there’s plenty of Fantasy potential near the bottom of the table when the pressure starts to mount – if the last few results are any indication, the Loftus Road outfit may well find themselves on Fantasy radars as Redknapp starts to build up momentum.