Why Harry Redknapp is the ultimate transfer Svengali

Queen’s Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp took the reigns at the Premier League’s basement team back on November 24th 2012. He was tasked with saving the club from relegation, despite them having not won a single league game.

After securing their first win of the campaign against Fulham on 15th December, QPR pushed on to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of this year. Now Redknapp is tackling the transfer market with his usual tenacity and verve.

He has brought in Loic Remy from Olympique Marseille and free agent Tal Ben Haim and looks to be edging closer to capturing Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila who is considered one of the best talents of his generation.

QPR fans now have many reasons to be cheerful and, whilst there is undoubtedly room for improvement, they can feel far more optimistic about their chances of avoiding relegation this season.

Redknapp has earned himself quite a reputation as a “wheeler-dealer” character from his spells in charge of Tottenham, Portsmouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, and West Ham. He often makes and breaks his reputation on his transfer activity.

At Spurs he became the first English manager in 26 years to reach the last eight of the Champion’s League – quite an achievement even before consideration of the fact he took Spurs from the bottom of the league to a Champion’s League quarter final in less than two seasons.

Between 1984 and 1992 Redknapp brought in just 19 players and actually recorded a profit in the transfer market. He took risks with young players and gave opportunities to players that had fallen from grace.

Between 1994 and 2001 at West Ham Redknapp signed an incredible 58 players yet still somehow managed to record a profit of £25 million in the transfer market during the same period.

Players such as Paulo Di Canio, John Hartson, and Jermaine Defoe were brought in whilst the club continued its development of some of the finest young talent in the country – Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, and Michael Carrick were all brought through the ranks in Redknapp’s tenure.

Redknapp took the West Ham up to the 5th place in the league before being sacked over comments made with regard to his contract and, after taking over Portsmouth, he brought them up to the Premier League as champions in 2002, ironically replacing West Ham who were relegated.

At Portsmouth Redknapp signed an astonishing 41 players – names like Dejan Stefanovic, Yakubu, and Lua Lua are prime examples of the calibre of player he brought in. Yet he spent just over £5 million and recorded a loss in the market of just £2.25 million over the two-year period.

At Southampton in 2004 he sold 18 players, recording a profit for the club of £13.5 million after spending just £2.5 million bringing 8 new players in before making his return to Portsmouth in 2005.

Possibly the only regret of his managerial career can be the cavalier manner in which he spent £68 million in just two seasons, leaving an overall loss of £38 million after splashing the cash on Sulley Muntari, Jermaine Defoe (again), Papa Bouba-Diop, Glen Johnsen, and Niko Krancjar.

The club were forced to sell a number of their stars in the following seasons, making an estimated £30 million before Redknapp departed to take charge of Spurs in 2008.

At White Hart Lane Redknapp brought in Jermaine Defoe (again) and Robbie Keane along with Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch, Niko Kranjcar (again), Sebastian Bassong, Kyle Walker, Gareth Bale and Kyle Naughton.

Harry Redknapp has, throughout his managerial career, defined his success through his shrewd and assertive dealings in the transfer market. This January will likely see him repeat his past endeavours and, I have sneaking suspicion, it will be in January that QPR’s season will (retrospectively) be saved.

Should they stay up (which I believe they will) they will probably look back on January as the crucial turning point.

image: © curiouslypersistent

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