“QPR are buying pedigree and there’s some sense in that”
You can call Mark Hughes a lot of things, but ageist is not one of them. After Queens Park Rangers secured Premier League survival by the skin of their teeth last season, Hughes has set about building a squad with more experience than you can shake a walking stick at. Of the new arrivals at Loftus Road, Ryan Nelsen, Robert Green, Andrew Johnson and Park Ji-Sung are all the wrong side of 30. The Life’s a Pitch panel runs the rule over the Welshman’s buys and wonders whether his strategy of bringing in golden oldies may be a little short-term.
“They’re buying pedigree and there’s some sense in that,” says the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield. “It’s not going to work in the long term, apart from people like Junior Hoilett, but for the moment, if they can establish themselves in mid-table, they can build on that.”
As Dominic points out, not all of Hughes’s new boys are getting on a bit; forward Hoilett is a mere pup at just 22 years old. The panel agrees that the speedy youngster, signed from Blackburn Rovers on a four-year deal, will strengthen the QPR squad.
“Junior Hoilett’s a good, young signing, but they have signed a lot of experience,” says the People’s Dave Kidd. “That’s understandable in a lot of ways. They’re starting off from a very low base. They were very lucky to escape relegation and if Bolton had got a result at Stoke they’d have gone down. These are decent signings that are going to make sure they’re not battling relegation on the last day of the season.”
With the arrival of Johnson, Hoilett and Park, and the likes of Djibril Cissé, Bobby Zamora and Adel Taarabt already on the books, Mark Hughes should have plenty of strength in depth when it comes to going forwards. But does he need to pay a little more attention to other areas of his squad?
“Park is a good signing, Hoilett’s a good signing, but they’re signing attacking players – [Bobby] Zamora, Johnson, etc,” says journalist and author Ian Ridley. “I’m not sure they’ve got enough in midfield, particularly if Joey Barton goes – and I’m sure he will go at some point, if anyone will take him. And at the back, are they really any stronger than they were? Strikers win you games, but defenders keep you up.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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