The January Transfer Window: A Review
Federico Macheda - 4/10
Neil Warnock`s first and last swoop in the January transfer window was a strange one. The R`s gaffer explained he was looking for a loan signing with 'something to prove`, using last season`s masterstroke of capturing Kyle Walker as a prime example. He obviously forgot to ask Alex Ferguson whether the player he was signing was any good - making the familiar oversight of assuming that because Macheda plays for Man Utd he must be worthy of a place in a relegation threatened side. The 20-year-old Italian has been largely disappointing to say the least since his arrival and with new additions arriving up front, the striker now finds himself even lower down the pecking order, possibly even behind Rob Hulse. That is not good news my friend.
It may be unfair to completely dismiss Macheda`s worth to the QPR team. With the invaluable Helguson providing the focal role as a hold up striker, it must be assumed that anyone coming into the team must offer that exact service with the same degree of quality. Whilst Macheda has spent large amounts of his time at QPR attempting to chase down defenders before shaking his head with disbelief at the lack of support he is receiving, I don`t think I can recall a situation where he has found himself one on one with the keeper, ready to tuck in a nice finish. It may be wishful thinking, but should such an opportunity arise I`d back Macheda to score. For now though, it appears the striker will be resigned to a place on the bench at best. Finally, I see two positives to the Macheda signing; firstly, his youthful age means he can`t eat away at our 25 man squad allocation and secondly, pictures of his current girlfriend appear on Google images whenever I search for information regarding the striker. Lovely.
Taye Taiwo - 6/10
QPR`s distinct lack of pace has been a great cause for concern and Mark Hughes, who described the signing of Taiwo as a 'fantastic coup`, has quickly rectified such a problem with the acquisition of the Nigerian left back. Whilst I was by no means disappointed with Armand Traore slotting in at left back, his somewhat nonchalant attitude to defending fills me with apprehension every time he marauds forward. Whilst I understand Taiwo is just as adept at providing an attacking presence, his added defensive experience will hopefully tighten up a fairly 'leaky` defence. It may also present the opportunity for Armand Traore to push forward into a midfield role, a position he revelled in at Stoke.
Despite finding opportunities limited at AC Milan, the left-back was excellent for Marseille during the 2010/2011 season and was rewarded with a place in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year. The only reason Taiwo was granted a 6/10 is purely because we don`t know how he will fair in the Premier League - regard it as a positive 6/10 as opposed to a negative one. Akos Buzsaky has recently provided us with some solace that QPR don`t explicitly teach their players how not to take corners and free kicks, but in Taiwo we could have a potentially dangerous free-kick taker; something that could prove handy when goals from open play may be at a premium. Despite foolishly being filled with excitement when Dean Sturridge signed for us in 2005, I am genuinely excited by this signing and am backing to the Nigerian to be a big hit.
Samba Diakite - 5/10
I usually regard myself as quite a reliable fountain of knowledge when it comes to football players, however, the 23-year-old Mali international Samba Diakite is about as familiar to me as a Shaun Derry goal celebration. QPR are severely lacking in the central midfield area and the addition of a defensively minded player could be an astute acquisition, despite the anonymity surrounding Diakite. Mark Hughes described the midfielder as a 'strong, powerful, player`; recurring characteristics throughout the manager`s January signings.
I can only speculate on what Diakite will bring us, but I can presume he will be a tidy, yet competitive midfielder who will look to play the 'Derry role` in the Premier League. I predict goals will be few and far between, yet if he turns out to similar to Newcastle`s Cheik Tioté I will be delighted. Interestingly, QPR have the option of signing the midfielder on a permanent deal should we stay up. Don`t be surprised to hear the QPR 'fans` calling for the immediate capture of the player before the 'inevitable bigger clubs come calling`, should he put in two or three decent performances - just like a little fella called Emmanuel Ledesma.
Nedum Onuoha - 8/10
Probably QPR`s best signing this transfer window, not least because a decent central defender was the top of their shopping list, Nedum Onuoha brings with him strength, composure, talent and despite only being 25, a wealth of Premier League experience. Often viewed as hiding under Micah Richard`s shadow at Man City, the defender was a standout performer at Sunderland last season and now has the opportunity to make a name for himself at a permanent club in QPR with the very clear potential of an England call-up. The proud owner of fifteen A* and two A grades at GCSE and five A grades at A level, 'Ned` comes across as a sensible guy and has the desire to work hard under former manager Mark Hughes.
If the reported £6.5 million bid for Christopher Samba is to be believed, then the £2.5 million capture of Onuoha is an absolute steal. Add to that Onuoha`s age and the potential of the defender having a major hand in steering QPR clear of the relegation zone there may be the possibility of a larger transfer fee to be received in a couple of years time. The majority of Mark Hughes` signings have all alluded to the Welshman`s helping hand in making the decision easier for them and I feel that, despite Onuoha an apparent Warnock target pre-January, the previous manager may have found difficulties in luring such players to Loftus Road. The 25-year-old can also play anywhere across the defence and the backline of Hill, Hall, Gabbidon and Orr lining up against Bolton seems a hell of a long way away. Credit must go to the owners for supporting the manager in giving QPR the best chance of staying up this season.
Djibril Cisse - 6/10
With the amount of names linked to QPR the past few transfer windows, I thought Djibril Cisse would be another name washed away with the hundreds of others. I was surprised to see the Frenchman, therefore, sign a two and half year deal at Loftus Road and take upon himself the incredibly hard task of being the man to score goals to keep QPR up. I have to admit I`m undecided with this one. One minute I`m optimistic Cisse will score ten goals from now until the end of the season and keep us up, but the next I have visions of him pulling up with a hamstring injury 20 minutes into his debut. Mark Hughes wanted to sign Cisse whilst he was at Manchester City, and while it shows the Rs gaffer still rates the striker, it makes me wonder whether he has forgotten Cisse is now fifty tattoos heavier and three years older - could he have looked elsewhere?
The striker has an impressive CV, if not history of hairstyles, and having turned out for the likes of Liverpool, Marseille, Sunderland and more recently Lazio he has certainly had no difficulty in finding suitable admirers. Finding the back of the net is a completely different story, and whilst it may take him a fair few go`s at getting the ball on target, it could be argued that when he does chances are it will go in. An unpredictable striker may be what QPR need - they thrived on Taarabt`s temperamental nature last season, and Cisse may be the secret weapon required to boost our chances of survival.
Bobby Zamora - 7/10
Bobby Zamora is a good signing. All the QPR fans declaring their distaste at signing a non-goalscorer should take a look at their admiration for Heidar Helguson. Despite, surprisingly, topping the goalscoring charts for QPR, the Icelander is hardly renowned for his goalscoring capabilities, yet is instrumental in the way QPR are set up and their attacking presence. Zamora will provide exactly the same, and having gone on an impressive scoring run under Mark Hughes, will offer, probably not tonnes, but some priceless goals. With Helguson clearly now struggling to get a good run of games under his belt, the acquisition of Zamora will provide QPR with the same outlet and a potentially intriguing partnership with Djibril Cisse up front. QPR fans have taken to using Jay Bothroyd as target for their imprudent abuse, and I only hope that the fans that were pining for Carlos Tevez to join on loan, don`t jump on the 'let`s abuse Bobby Zamora because the team aren`t performing` bandwagon.
The thought of what we`re actually paying Bobby Zamora does indeed make me shudder. The 31-year-old has signed a two and half year deal, which implies the striker`s job will be to be an integral part of QPR`s push for survival this season and make do with a bit-part role over the next two seasons should higher profile signings make their way into Loftus Road over the summer. Zamora has one mission - to keep QPR up. Good luck.