Thursday 21 September 2017

QPR look to Real Madrid to replace Harry Redknapp

Paul Clement, left, celebrates last season's Champions League success with Real Madrid.
Paul Clement, left, celebrates last season's Champions League success with Real Madrid.

Sam Wallace

Queen’s Park Rangers want to speak to Steve McClaren and Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement about the vacant manager’s job, as well as Tim Sherwood, with the new man unlikely to be in place before Saturday’s home game against Southampton.

The club’s chairman Tony Fernandes laid out the philosophy he wants his new manager to bring to bear at the club following the departure of Harry Redknapp on Tuesday morning. In a tweet, the QPR chairman said: “The board will hire someone who cares, thinks long term, wants to be involved in developing the academy, has coaching skills, will play young players and is a winner.”

Rangers’ newly-appointed director of football Les Ferdinand is understood to support the appointment of Sherwood and, having worked with the latter at Tottenham, has a close understanding of his philosophy.

However, the hierarchy are keen to take their time over the appointment and want to have a clear vision for how they see the club going forward when they meet candidates.

McClaren impressed Fernandes when he worked with Redknapp at the start of last season but he is regarded as a long shot. The Derby County manager is currently joint top of the Championship. Clement is an interesting choice and the club would like to speak to him to find out what his ambitions are in management. His late father Dave was a long-serving player at the club between 1965 and 1979.

Ferdinand is there to advise on the decision but ultimately it will come down to the view of the major shareholders, Fernandes, Ruben Emir Gnanalingam and Kamarudin Meranun as well as the minority shareholding owned by the Mittal Group, represented by Amit Bhatia.

Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement puts superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale through their paces Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement puts superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale through their paces (Getty)

Given that any candidate interested in the job would have to meet the group face to face, the likelihood is that caretaker managers Kevin Bond and Chris Ramsey will be in charge for the game at Sunderland on Tuesday.

There are major decisions ahead for the club. The new approach is a move away from the tendency to buy high-salary, aging Premier League stalwarts. Fernandes warned on transfer-deadline day that there would be “no more chequebook” and the days of player weekly wages upwards of £60,000 certainly seem over for QPR, regardless of whether they stay up or not.

This summer will mark a sea-change at the club with a large number of players out of contract and loanees returning to clubs. Another group will be just a year away from the end of their deals. In that regard QPR have decisions to make about virtually their entire first-team squad this summer.

Those who are out of contract in the summer include Joey Barton, Clint Hill, Richard Dunne, Bobby Zamora, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Rio Ferdinand, Karl Henry and Alejandro Faurlin. On-loan Mauricio Isla, Niko Kranjcar, Eduardo Vargas and Mauro Zarate will all return to their parent clubs.

While a lot of these departures will be welcomed by the club, there is also the question of the long-term rebuilding process. Arguably the most valuable player in the squad, Charlie Austin, has a contract that lasts until only 2016. Rob Green, Nedum Onuoha,  Adel Taarabt, Armand Traoré, Junior Hoilett and Yun Suk-young are also contracted until then.

Joey Barton is one of a number of QPR players whose contract runs out in June Joey Barton is one of a number of QPR players whose contract runs out in June (Getty)

While the club are keen to develop what Fernandes called “young, hungry players”, it is evident that the academy, only category-two status under the Elite Player Performance Plan system, will not produce first-team players by the summer. Because of the academy’s status, the Under-21s side compete in the League Two South division, alongside the likes of Swansea, Crystal Palace and Colchester.

Announcing Ferdinand’s new title as director of football, Fernandes said: “I’ve been really impressed with the job Les has done in his short time here and as such I am keen for his role to evolve, with the clear mandate of assisting us in developing and evolving the footballing department, from the academy to the first team.

“This is a new strategy for us. Our recruitment policy at QPR is changing.”

Independent News Service

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