Warburton admits Eze was left out because of interest in QPR star

QPR forward Ebere Eze

Mark Warburton has admitted Ebere Eze was left out of the QPR squad for the friendly against AFC Wimbledon because of interest in the forward.

Several Premier League clubs have been linked with Eze in recent months, although until recently the only concrete interest has come from Crystal Palace and West Ham.

However, a number of others have now indicated that they want him.

Those clubs include Fulham, who are ready to make a move for Eze following their promotion back to the Premier League.

West Brom, also recently promoted, have indicated that they are interested too.

Several others are monitoring the situation.

Rangers manager Warburton therefore decided not to select Eze for the game at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, where the 22-year-old watched from the directors’ box as the hosts cruised to a 3-0 win.

But Warburton insisted that “nothing new” in terms of approaches for Eze had led to the decision to leave him out.

QPR manager Mark Warburton
Warburton is keen to make signings this summer

Warburton explained: “There’s interest. That’s not a secret. Everyone knows what’s going on.

“I felt it was best for him not to be involved. It was my decision.

“It was my choice and everyone was in agreement that it was the right thing to do.

“There’s so much going on and he’s a young guy and he’s dealing with the outside interest and pressure exceedingly well. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

“He’s a QPR player and he’ll be with us training on Monday as far as I’m aware.”

QPR wait for improved bids

Palace have been keen on Eze since 2018 and had an approach for him rejected by QPR in January.

More recently, a £12m bid from the Eagles was turned down.

West Ham have indicated that they are interested in Eze.

Rangers have been hoping any deal with the Hammers would involve Jordan Hugill moving in part exchange.

QPR: Jordan Hugill
QPR have been hoping to secure Hugill’s return to west London

Striker Hugill scored 15 goals for the R’s while on loan at Loftus Road last season.

There is every expectation that Eze will leave during the current transfer window, but QPR want at least £20m for him.

“If any player attracts interest there’s a value on that asset,” said Warburton.

“If an asset is sought by another party, here’s the value, pay the value and the deal is done.”

Rangers ready to offload Leistner

Toni Leistner was also left out for Saturday’s game ahead of an expected move away from QPR.

The defender has long been out of favour under Warburton and he ended last season back in his native Germany, on loan at Cologne.

German and English clubs were made aware of Leistner’s availability after Cologne opted not to take up their option to buy Leistner.

There have been some signs that the Bundesliga outfit might reconsider if they are able to offload a couple of players.

Rangers remain keen to bring in at least one centre-back before the new season begins.

They want Rob Dickie but several clubs are also interested in the Oxford United defender.

Charlie Goode was identified as a possible option and an approach was made to Northampton, but he recently joined Brentford.

Meanwhile, Championship clubs have been made aware of the potential availability of Charlton’s Tom Lockyer.

A clause in the Welshman’s contract enables him to move on a free transfer following the Addicks’ relegation.