QPR began transfer deadline day having lost Nahki Wells, sold Josh Scowen and sent Toni Leistner out on loan. Jan Mlakar is also leaving, but the day began with Matt Smith looking increasingly likely to stay.
Will Rangers sign a striker?
With Wells having enjoyed a purple patch this season and been sold by Burnley to Bristol City, a number of possible replacements have been considered – there was already a desire to bring in an emerging striker to act as back-up to Wells and Jordan Hugill for the rest of the season with a view to being a first-team regular next term.
Manager Mark Warburton so far hasn’t been convinced by some of the options out there – or able to afford some of the others.
Warburton’s emphasis on “keeping our powder dry” has so far been a theme of this transfer window. There is a belief that QPR’s financial position will be stronger in the summer, especially compared to Championship clubs currently hovering above the Financial Fair Play precipice, and that it makes sense to wait.
As of Friday morning, Rangers were open to making a signing but not inclined to go ahead with any of the potential deals currently open to them.
Eze to Palace?
The day began amid reports that Crystal Palace were targeting Ebere Eze after missing out on Hull’s Jarrod Bowen.
Palace and Brighton were the first Premier League clubs to monitor Eze. But as of early Friday morning there was no sign of any move from them for the player.
11.30am update: Palace interested in Eze but QPR star set to stay
For all the speculation over the future of Eze, with Tottenham and others being linked with him, in the end it was Bright Osayi-Samuel who seemed to attract the strongest interest during January.
A number of enquiries about Osayi-Samuel were made and rebuffed – and Rangers began deadline day believing interest in him had been fended off and that he will sign a new contract.
Smith could stay
It had long been QPR’s intention to seek a deal with Burnley to sign Wells, send Conor Masterson out on loan and terminate the season-long loans of Mlakar and Smith.
In the end, Wells moved on and Masterson stepped into the first team sooner than intended and has impressed. And while Mlakar is leaving, the situation with Smith has been unclear, particularly in light of Scowen signing for Sunderland.
Scowen’s move prompted Rangers to reconsider ending Smith’s loan. Having initially still edged towards doing so, by Friday morning it was looking increasingly likely that he could be retained after all in light of Scowen’s departure and the possibility of Geoff Cameron at times filling in at centre-back now Leistner has gone.
4.45pm update: Smith set for QPR exit