Wide gulf between names promoted Premier League teams can attract
All promoted Premier League teams face the same problem; how do they attract a certain calibre of player capable of keeping them up?
Burnley, odds-on 1/2 favourites for the drop and 11/8 chances to stay up, make no bones about it. They struggle to. Sean Dyche’s summer captures at Turf Moor so far are a mix of steady pros with experience of dogfights and Championship players he has taken a punt on.
Latest arrival Lukas Jutkiewicz typifies the latter category. Seven goals in 20 league games on loan at second-tier team Bolton Wanderers last term hardly set the world alight. Once a promising prospect at Everton, his career has also taken in Coventry City and Middlesbrough, but glimpses of fulfilling such potential have been few and far between.
In fairness to the Clarets, free transfer captures of versatile pair Steven Reid and Matt Taylor are hugely beneficial to a small, tight-knit squad. Winger Michael Kightly, meanwhile, earned a permanent transfer following a decent loan spell in their promotion campaign.
Jutkiewicz joining and the signing of Marvin Sordell are clearly motivated by the serious knee sustained by Sam Vokes, and the lack of cover available to Dyche up front. Holding on to top scorer Danny Ings will be difficult if he can replicate his Championship form in the Premier League, but at least Burnley can console themselves by being paid the so-called ‘English premium’ for him, just like Jay Rodriguez.
There is a stark contrast to that transfer policy at play-off winners QPR. Harry Redknapp’s Hoops are 2/1 shots for the drop, but are linked to names that excite decidedly more than the newcomers to Turf Moor. No signings have been confirmed as yet, but recruitment looks as ambitious as ever at Loftus Road.
But that begs the questions have QPR learned from their last stint in the Premier League? You cannot buy safety, so Redknapp should take a more measured approach to predecessor Mark Hughes. In building a promoted side, he has already showed signs of doing that.
Rio Ferdinand is set to join the Hoops, perhaps only on a one-year deal, but will add a dressing room presence to the west London outfit. Redknapp has also been linked with raiding old club Spurs for another centre back Michael Dawson.
Cardiff City counterpart Steven Caulker and Norwich midfielder Leroy Fer, part of the Netherlands squad that finished third at the World Cup in Brazil, could stay in the top-flight following respective relegations last term.
To supplement top scorer Charlie Austin in attack, Redknapp is trying to pull off a bargain buy in Iceland international Kolbeinn Sigthorsson from Ajax. A fee of between £4m and £5m has been mooted. Loic Remy’s Loftus Road exit will help recoup some of the outlay on summer spending. This model is much more sustainable.
With the right blend, the sky’s the limit for QPR, or realistically a top 10 finish at a fabulous 4/1 with Coral.