Saturday 27 December 2014

United eyeing £12m Taarabt as Redknapp demands hard work

Jason Burt

Published 27/11/2012 | 05:00

Manchester United are considering a shock £12m bid for Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt in the January transfer window.

Any offer could tempt new QPR manager Harry Redknapp into a sale as it would raise the crucial funds he requires to bolster his squad when the window reopens.

At present there is only a relatively small amount of money available to Redknapp, who could also rely heavily on the loan market as he targets a striker and a central defender, in particular, in his attempt to haul QPR off the bottom of the league.

Redknapp was guarded about his plans for the window, pointing out that investment had already been made in the squad with 12 players arriving – at a cost of £14m in transfer fees and a sharp increase in QPR's wage bill – in the summer.

QPR do not have the £9m they bid for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson – who will be a target again – in August as they had to spend £3.8m on midfielder Esteban Granero because of uncertainty over whether Samba Diakite would return to the club from France, as he has subsequently done, after he suffered from depression.

Spurs would appear less likely to allow Dawson to leave in January than they were in August, with Younes Kaboul still out injured, and would resist any approach for Scott Parker, who has not played this season. Jermain Defoe is not for sale either.


Redknapp takes charge of his first match this evening, away to Sunderland, with QPR still in search of their first league victory of the season and, although the new manager reiterated yesterday that he had no intention of selling Taarabt, there was a warning that he had to work harder on the pitch.

In 2010, when he was Spurs manager, Redknapp sold Taarabt to QPR, famously calling him a "fruitcake", and the midfielder remains an erratic, if hugely talented, player. Redknapp might understandably be tempted to sell if the right offer comes in and he is given the funds to buy. It is understood that QPR would push for closer to £15m.

United have shown interest in the 23-year-old Moroccan in the past and considered an offer when QPR were promoted from the Championship.

Taarabt went on loan to QPR in 2009 before signing permanently the following year, for just £1m, becoming the key player in the club's promotion season when he was given the captaincy by then manager Neil Warnock.

It was then that United were first linked with a move for Taarabt with Warnock claiming Alex Ferguson had scouted the player, only for him to be sent off against Hull City.

Redknapp said yesterday that he "had to get the best out of Taarabt" while lauding the QPR tradition of creative players such as Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh.

"They always had great No 10s over the years. It was a good side, the team that nearly won the title on the last day of the (1975-76) season with Frank McLintock, David Webb. They had some great players and characters."

He played down talk of David Beckham arriving, although he added: "I still think to have him at any football club would be a great influence on the team, on the club."

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