Queens Park Rangers have trumped Newcastle United's attempt to sign Loïc Rémy from Marseille with the striker set to undergo a medical at the London club on Tuesday prior to completing an £8m move to the Premier League's bottom team.
His arrival could be followed by that of the previously much coveted Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, whom Harry Redknapp watched first-hand in Saturday's league game against Bordeaux, for a similar fee as the QPR owner, Tony Fernandes, digs deep in an attempt to preserve the club's top-flight status.
The manager had hoped to strengthen his squad significantly in the midwinter window but, while M'Vila would add to his options in midfield, the need for a striker was most pressing given that Rangers have managed only 17 goals this term, and with Djibril Cissé expected to depart.
Redknapp had travelled to France this month to watch Rémy – who has been capped 17 times by France but was little used at Marseille this season after expressing a desire to leave last summer – having come close to signing the player while Tottenham Hotspur's manager a year ago. The fee asked at the time, around £22m, had dissuaded Spurs from pursuing that option despite Rémy being keen on the move.
The Frenchman had opted against speaking face to face with the QPR manager this time around, apparently put off by the team's desperate plight at the foot of the table, though the money the Londoners are willing to pay him appears to have been persuasive: the club are offering a package worth around £75,000 a week plus bonuses if the team avoid relegation, thought to be virtually double that proposed by Newcastle in their effort to replace Demba Ba on Tyneside.
Losing out on Rémy constitutes a major blow for Alan Pardew, who had felt the deal was all but done on Monday after talks between the club director Derek Llambias, the player and his representative. QPR eventually tabled their own formal bid to match the £8m on offer from Newcastle and, with permission granted to talk to the player, the 26-year-old and his entourage flew to London to discuss personal terms, leaving Llambias to pursue alternative targets. Interest has been expressed in St Etienne's Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who would cost around £6m, and Paris Saint-Germain's Mevlut Erdinc.
Newcastle's manager hopes to persuade his captain and key defender Fabricio Coloccini to remain at St James' Park for at least the remainder of the season. Difficulties in Coloccini's personal life have made the centre-half keen to return to his native Argentina but it is hoped that the matter can be resolved during a meeting between Newcastle directors and Coloccini's representatives scheduled for Wednesday.
Pardew, whose side have lost 11 of their past 15 games in all competitions, is less concerned about quotes in the French media attributed to Hatem Ben Arfa, his principal creator who is receiving treatment for a torn hamstring at Clairefontaine, near Paris.
The France winger apparently suggested he would favour a summer move to PSG but it is understood he is happy at Newcastle and determined to stay in England. Were he to leave the north-east it would be for a Premier League club involved in the Champions League.
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image: © Tom Cuppens