QPR Q&A: Chief executive on transfers, Hughes, Green and the future
Phil Beard answers questions on Rangers’ summer of spending, and tells London24 that the focus must now be on developing the club’s own youth policy
Q: With the transfer window now closed, do you feel that QPR have done good business?
What we have done in the last three transfer windows is hopefully send some very serious messages to the fans that we’re serious about trying to build and strengthen the squad.
This summer there was a lot more time as soon as the season finished to sit down and understand how Mark wanted to go about developing the team, and to make sure that what he ended up with was a squad which he felt was his own.
It takes two or three windows to bring in a squad which can compete in the Premier League. It was an evolutionary process. We moved a significant number of players out, over the last two windows in particular, that Mark felt were not able to compete in the Premier League.
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Mark has had the chance to bring in 12 players overall this summer. I think he has a 25-man squad that he can look at, at any given time, and see that any of those players can do a job.
Q: A number of high-profile players have arrived at the club. Has the wage bill become a concern?
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I wouldn’t say that should be a concern to the fans, because we have got very successful businessmen who own this club.
The figures will back me up when I say that a lot of the players who have come in have done so on free transfers rather than a significant cost. Some clubs have spent �12 million or �15m on one player. You would struggle to get that sort of number for all the players we have signed.
What we have done is strike a balance. I have looked at it long and hard, and there are some very talented young players we have brought to the club who I think will be available for a long time to come.
Mark has brought in players who have significant Premier League experience, like Ryan Nelsen and Andy Johnson. If I were the fans I would back the fact that the owners really know what they are trying to achieve here.
Q: So is the cycle of regeneration we have seen during the last three windows now at an end?
You have to have two or three cycles in order to really bring a squad together that you feel can create stability in the Premier League.
I think we are looking forward and thinking that if there is more activity it will be on the basis of moving one or two players out who would command their own figure in the market.
We’ll be a club which does less activity, which moves players out as well as bringing them in.
Until now, some of the players who have gone out have not commanded the same fees as those who were brought in.
Q: QPR’s owners have spoken of ambition. What is a realistic target for QPR this season?
We have owners who are very ambitious and want to compete at the highest level.
It would be wrong to try to explain what that means, but we haven’t made the investment of this summer to simply compete at the same level as last season.
We had a squad which kept the club in the Premier League, but the investment has been made so that we feel we are a club which can compete against – and beat – every club we play.
We all believe that the squad we have now should be able to get stability in the Premier League – not fighting for survival.
However, it’s a fact that three clubs go down and every club will be doing all it can to make sure it isn’t down near the bottom. The investment has been made in order to progress from last season.
Q: Rob Green signed in July yet already looks set to lose the jersey to Julio Cesar.
Does this reflect badly on the scouting system which identified him as a signing?
It doesn’t raise questions over the scouting policy – if anything, I think the opposite is true.
The club now has two very strong goalkeepers, and Mark will decide which one plays when.
The opportunity came up, it wasn’t something in his mind, that Julio Cesar could come to the club for a very sensible way, and we decided to take that opportunity. The best teams have strength in every position.
Q: How important is Mark Hughes to the club’s long-term future?
The power of Mark Hughes in getting players to come to this club should not be under-estimated. Mark takes us to another level.
I have sat in meetings where had Mark not been the manager here we might not have persuaded some of the players to come to the club.
I look at Mark and see that what he’s good at is getting the best out of these players.
Q: Does the fact that you have spent so little in transfer fees suggest that you have signed players who are past their best that no other clubs want?
What Mark has tried to do is have a balance. Watching Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora play against Manchester City, I thought they dove-tailed really well. Andy, who has maybe one or two seasons left in the top flight, really wants to succeed.
There are three or four who are still young; Junior Hoilett is a fantastic talent and could very well become a superstar. At the other end of the scale Ryan Nelsen arguably was the best player against City.
That’s what Mark has tried to do. I look at the bench, and the challenge we had last season was that our bench looked frail.
Against City, you saw enough talent. I look at the likes of Norwich and Southampton, and for me their benches look a bit weak.
You need to see what you need in order to compete. It is important we compete at the highest level. I hope the young players who we signed on long-term contracts will stay for a long time, but if they don’t then they will have a significant re-sale value.
We have renewed the contracts of players who we believe are the future of the club. Adel staying is fantastic news for any QPR fan who has watched him progress over the last few years.
Q: Going forward, would the club be better to look at signing the best young players from the lower divisions, rather than established names?
Possibly, but that’s a risky strategy. Jordan Rhodes, for example, who scored goals for fun last season for Huddersfield.
No-one went in for him, so �8 million for a move to Blackburn Rovers is a massive amount of money. They now need to come back up. He might score 20 or 30 this season, but it’s a massively risky strategy.
We let Raheem Sterling go a few years ago because we simply could not hold on to him, there was no-one to say ‘stick around because we are going places’.
That’s what we want to do; the most important thing we are doing is building Warren Farm, because ultimately we want to bring through young kids. The one thing you can’t put a price on is nurturing talent at a young age.
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