Belfast Telegraph

QPR manager Harry Redknapp targets Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley and Andros Townsend on transfer deadline day

By Sam Wallace and Ian Herbert

The Queen’s Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is prepared to make a trio of remarkable transfer deadline day signings from his former club Tottenham Hotspur, by bringing in Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley and Andros Townsend, the latter on loan.

Redknapp is eager to give his team more width and QPR have agreed in principle to take over Jenas and Bentley's contracts, with Townsend as their second loan player after Fabio da Silva. The Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin has been sent out on loan to Palermo and the QPR manager has told the club that he needs to reinforce the squad, especially out in the wider positions.

The most extraordinary of the three is Bentley who was frozen out at Tottenham by Redknapp to the extent that he eventually had to go to Russian club FC Rostov on loan to try to rescue his career. A former England international, his career has gone into steep decline although he did suffer a bad injury on loan at West Ham last season.

Bentley did himself no favours with Redknapp by tipping a bucket of icy water over the then-Spurs manager live on television when the team clinched Champions League qualification against Manchester City in 2010. However, Redknapp is said to bear no grudges towards him.

Bentley has a contract at Tottenham until the summer of next year. Jenas' deal expires in the summer and QPR are proposing just taking on his deal until then. Townsend is highly-rated at Spurs but there is little prospect of first-team action this season. For Spurs chairman Daniel Levy it takes Jenas and Bentley off the wage bill, something he has been trying to do for some time.

Redknapp is still counting on signing a new striker today, most likely West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie, a long-standing target who expressed his disaffection with his current situation over the weekend.

Peter Crouch is the second option, a player who has been with Redknapp at three different clubs in four different spells. Crouch, 31, has two years left on his contract at Stoke City after this season and is one of the club's highest-paid players. The proposed deal would involve Jamie Mackie going to Stoke along with £4m. Odemwingie has another year left on his contract after this season and West Bromwich have rejected two offers from QPR already.

Redknapp is also shattering his club's wage structure in a desperate quest for Premier League survival by pressing ahead with a deal for £12.5m defender Chris Samba six months after his predecessor Mark Hughes decided that the centre-half's pay demands were too big.

Samba is on a six-figure weekly salary, after bonuses, at the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala and in the summer QPR were being asked to pay around £65,000 to £70,000 a week, including bonuses, to bring the player to Loftus Road. The package was rejected as bad business for the club and one that did not fit into the wage structure. It is understood that Samba's wage is now closer to £100,000 a week.

Hughes, sacked in November ,also rejected the wages the club would have needed to pay out for Fulham's Brede Hangeland – another player who Redknapp has gone back in for now.

But after signing 26-year-old Loïc Rémy from Marseilles on £80,000 a week for a club record fee of £8m, Redknapp clearly feels that he needs to spend in a way that was rejected by Hughes. Redknapp's predecessor accepted that he had to go into the season with Anton Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen in central defence after no reinforcement could be found at a realistic price. Both have now left – Ferdinand on loan to Bursaspor and Nelsen to become head coach of Toronto FC.

Benvenuti Balotelli: Mario makes 'dream' arrival

Mario Balotelli was met at Malpensa airport by Milan's chief executive, Adriano Galliani, after he flew in to undergo a medical and finalise his £19.5m transfer. Galliani described the capture of the former Manchester City striker as a "dream come true".

"With the arrival of Mario, we have strengthened our team a lot," Galliani said. "We have worked so hard and Mario has been in our hearts for a long time."

Belfast Telegraph


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