Steve McClaren has been discussing possible transfer options with QPR’s recruitment team, which is currently expected to remain unchanged following his appointment as manager in place of Ian Holloway.
The club has followed a set transfer policy in recent years, laid down by director of football Les Ferdinand and pursued by scouting staff led by Gary Penrice. The set-up McClaren inherits places a large emphasis on youth, character, location, versatility and contract situation.
Rangers have trumpeted their desire to develop young players and this has been reflected in both their transfer dealings in the last couple of seasons and the current make-up of their first-team squad.
There is a desire to bring in more experienced players in this transfer window, however.
McClaren has spoken of his intention to do so and before his appointment the club were keen to bring in at least a couple of older heads – certainly at centre-back, where Nedum Onuoha’s departure has left a void to be filled.
Given the failed transfer policy of past years, good character as well as youth has been seen as important – and certainly something the club has been keen to talk up in order to convince fans that lessons have been learned.
QPR’s first real transfer target this summer, centre-back Uwe Hünemeier, who opted to return to his native Germany after being released by Brighton, was of interest primarily because he was known to be a model professional.
That said, clubs – including QPR – generally always talk a good game when it comes to scouting for players of good character. Rangers certainly did while bringing in the players most associated with the era of dressing-room poison.
Penrice likes to hone in on players from the south east who are playing elsewhere and might favour a return. Luke Freeman and particularly Josh Scowen are examples of this, having been attracted to the idea of a move to London from Bristol City and Barnsley respectively.
A number of players who also fit into this category have been identified as potential signings this summer.
Holloway placed a lot of emphasis on versatility when directing his scouting team, although several leads during his time as manager came to nothing as Rangers searched for the new Marcus Bignot and they did not end up bringing in the kind of utility players Holloway wanted.
How much importance McClaren places on versatility remains to be seen. Up to now there has been a belief at Rangers that, with the budget having been reduced, and in light of the transfer-window system, it would make sense to bring in players who can play in multiple positions.
The signings of Freeman and Scowen are also examples of QPR seeking to use the Bosman ruling to their advantage by identifying players – generally ones at clubs who play less than Rangers – who are coming to the end of their contract or have a year or less remaining and will not sign a new deal. The latter scenario led to the signings of Freeman, Joel Lynch and Jake Bidwell, for example, while the shoe was on the other foot when Southampton were able to buy Charlie Austin for just £4m.