How have QPR’s summer signings fared and are they likely to improve?

It’s been a troubled start to the season for QPR’s summer signings. How have they fared so far and what do their prospects look like for the rest of the season?

Rio FerdinandSoccer - Pre-Season Friendly - Queens Park Rangers v PAOK - Loftus Road
There’s already been plenty of ammunition for those who felt Ferdinand was over the hill prior to his move to west London. He has been at fault for some of the goals conceded, from Hull’s winner on the opening day to the first goal at Southampton, where he gave the ball away.

At this stage of Ferdinand’s career and QPR’s supposed development, his primary role ought to be as a defensive organiser in a compact team, at a compact ground, with a shielding midfielder in front and someone like Steven Caulker alongside him.

In theory it should all work well and could still if those pieces fall into place after a disjointed start to the season. Even then though, Ferdinand would need to cut out the individual errors.

Steven CaulkerSoccer - International Friendly - Sweden v England - Friends Arena
At 22, Caulker has great attributes and is very advanced for his age in terms of ability and experience. But much of that experience was in a troubled Cardiff side and once again he finds himself in a struggling team.

His performances have been a bit hit-and-miss – he can be sloppy on the ball at times – but he can still turn out to be a fantastic signing. Looks more comfortable in a two-man central defence rather than than as a right-sided defender, whereas several of his team-mates are much more suited to the 3-5-2 system favoured by boss Harry Redknapp.

Mauricio IslaSoccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group B - Chile v Australia - Arena Pantanal
Many good judges warn against signing a player on the basis of a good World Cup. Isla certainly showed he has ability with some cracking performances for his country in Brazil, but the Chilean’s domestic form before his move from Juventus was less impressive.

It’s all too easy to write a talented player off as being unable to defend – we do it in England all the time – but Isla is an example of someone who really can’t defend. Redknapp points out that he’s not really a right-back, the implication being that Isla would have less defending to do as a wing-back. That’s not necessarily true. In some ways the defensive demands on a Premier League wing-back are even greater as they have more ground to cover and can often be outnumbered and isolated, as Isla was at Tottenham. He has real quality but the early signs are not good.

Jordon MutchJordon Mutch of QPR
A decent midfelder with a good range of passing and a knack of finding space in the box, Mutch can be somewhat one-paced and has shown this in his first games for QPR. Will need to step things up, particularly if other midfielders stay fit, or he could find himself out of the side.

Showed at Cardiff that he is capable of getting goals and he should get chances to score at Rangers, who are heavily reliant on attacking midfielders finding the net ahead of the transfer window reopening in January.

SandroSoccer - UEFA Europa League - Qualifying - Play Off - Second Leg - Tottenham Hotspur v AEL Limassol - White Hart Lane
A knee problem and an early head injury at Southampton mean he hasn’t got going yet. His personality should bring some character to the side – which QPR desperately lack.

Much loved by fans and team-mates at Tottenham, where his no-nonsense performances caught the eye, particularly before he picked up a knee injury while playing against the R’s.

Knee troubles seemed to hamper him at Spurs though, and Rangers will need him to stay fit. In fact they need him to have a major impact after the approaching international break.

Leroy FerSoccer - Barclays Premier League - Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Loftus Road
Was inconsistent while at Norwich and as well as showing his top-class quality in QPR’s win against Sunderland he has been well below par in other games.

Having pointed to the player’s apparent lack of fitness, Redknapp has more recently been lavish in his praise of Fer and predicted the Dutchman will make a huge impact at Loftus Road.

He did say similar things, with some justification, about Samba Diakite after first assessing his squad following his arrival at Rangers, so these things don’t always work out. Fer is much more proven though and can play in the number 10 role or deeper, which could make him a great asset.

Niko KranjcarSoccer - Barclays Premier League - Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City - Britannia Stadium
Much slimmer and sharper since last season, Kranjcar has made a good start to his second loan spell, equalising with a late free-kick against Stoke and almost doing so again at Southampton.

Rangers still need to be much quicker to change direction in midfield when they lose possession – this was particularly the case on Saturday, when Kranjcar worked hard to get forward to support Charlie Austin but the team were then too easily cut open through the middle after Southampton retrieved the ball.

Even so, Kranjcar’s fitness and form have been a definite plus for Rangers and suggest there could still be more to come.

Eduardo VargasVargas is due to have a medical at QPR this week
A huge factor in QPR’s dismal early-season showings has been the total lack of defending from the front – Tottenham and Manchester United were able to move the ball into midfield with jaw-dropping ease. In that respect alone, the busy Vargas could turn out to be worth his weight in gold.

To have any chance this season, Rangers simply must reposition as soon as moves break down and press opposing full-backs in particular. Vargas does this, whereas other Rangers players seem incapable or unwilling. He also has pace and ability going forward and Redknapp hopes he will also chip in with a few goals.

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