Sunday 18 March 2018

Redknapp: Remy opportunity too big

Harry Redknapp, left, saw his side beat Sunderland
Harry Redknapp, left, saw his side beat Sunderland

Harry Redknapp admitted he had no hard feelings over Loic Remy leaving QPR for Chelsea in a £10.5million deal.

Redknapp confirmed Remy will join Chelsea to replace AC Milan-bound Fernando Torres, after Charlie Austin fired QPR to a 1-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland.

Rangers boss Redknapp also confirmed Lassana Diarra has completed a medical at Loftus Road ahead of his move from Lokomotiv Moscow.

Remy failed a medical at Liverpool at the start of the summer, but Chelsea invoked his release clause in a deal confirmed as £10.5million by QPR.

Redknapp had declared France striker Remy "too decent a guy" to leave QPR in the lurch by quitting the club at the last-minute before the transfer deadline.

The QPR manager has now refused to criticise Remy's Chelsea switch however, saying the transfer was "not his fault".

"Obviously we had a spanner thrown in the works when I got a call at 12 o'clock today to say Loic was leaving," said Redknapp.

"That was a massive shock to me, I didn't expect that at all.

"I never had any idea that he would be leaving, it never entered my mind that he would leave.

"He would have played today, he didn't refuse to play but I took the decision to remove him.

"He worked yesterday with the team and I never had any idea he would be leaving.

"It's not his fault, I'm not criticising him. He's gone to Chelsea, the Champions League, it's very difficult.

"We could all sit here and say he shouldn't do it, but it's a fantastic opportunity for the boy and difficult to turn down.

"He's had the buy-out clause and it's got to be the cheapest buy of the century, but there's nothing that we could do about it."

Austin claimed his first Premier League strike to set QPR off the top-flight win mark this term, also ending his club's 315-minute goal drought.

Sunderland had several early half-chances at Loftus Road on Saturday, but were made to pay for their profligacy and still await their first league win of the campaign.

Former Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth midfielder Diarra left Lokomotiv Moscow after rows with coach Leonid Kuchuk, and watched Saturday's match from the stands.

Redknapp will now chase a striker to replace Remy before Monday's 11pm transfer deadline, with Ajax's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson heavily touted.

"The chairman's been great: he's been excellent, but we're not looking to spend £10milion on a striker," said the Rangers manager.

"We've got Charlie and Bobby (Zamora), so it's an area that we're looking at."

Redknapp revealed Austin only came through two training sessions ahead of Saturday's encounter, as he continues recovery from hamstring trouble.

"He's had a hamstring (injury) all week, Thursday was the first time he's trained for two weeks," said Redknapp.

"So to get 60-odd minutes out of him today was a bonus.

"The win was important for us; we worked very hard today so that's well-deserved."

Sunderland boss Guy Poyet was left frustrated by the quality of his side's finishing, with both Steven Fletcher and Patrick van Aanholt wasting fine through-balls from Adam Johnson.

The former Uruguay midfielder remains confident about adding further recruits before Monday's transfer deadline, despite already missing out on several targets.

"I won't say we are close, because we were close a couple of weeks ago but not close enough, so we'll wait and see," said Poyet.

"But we want to do some work because there are important positions we need to strengthen.

"For the next two days I will be on the phone all the time.

"We threw everything we had at them, but it was not good enough and we put ourselves under pressure (as we kept) giving the ball away cheaply."

It was reported on Saturday evening that Chelsea may face competition for Remy from Arsenal in the closing 48 hours of the window.

Earlier, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Sky Sports News: "Obviously I know we are trying since yesterday - that we are trying to get Remy.

"When I get on the bus it's time to make some calls and to have news."

Mourinho is optimistic Remy will get the go-ahead to join his squad, despite his failed medical with Liverpool.

Mourinho said: "The information we have from specialists in different areas is he doesn't have a problem to play football."

Press Association

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