Queens Park Rangers' January transfer dealings may have appeared frantic to the outside observer but Harry Redknapp insists that his six new signings represent little risk to a side still bottom of the Premier League and odds-on to be relegated.
Saturday's draw – Adel Taarabt had a penalty well saved by Mark Bunn – with a Norwich City side performing below their early-season standards will have done little to allay fears that a six-point gap between QPR and a safe position will be too wide to overcome. A potentially long-term groin injury for Loïc Rémy, only two games after his arrival, and Bobby Zamora's inability to play for longer than 30 minutes at a time has further undermined the QPR manager, and forced Redknapp to think about what might happen if his bid for survival fails.
"You look at the games we have had since the turn of the year and you'd take the points that we've got. We gave everything. I can't get any more out of the players," he said. "But I haven't brought players in here that are shit and we can't give them away. The club has invested but they'll get their money back."
Redknapp said the £12m signing of Chris Samba, who has not played since November, rates himself as "40% fit" and is paid a reported £80k a week, is almost risk free.
"If things don't go well and they want to get £12m for Samba then they will do – not a danger. Arsène Wenger said it was a great deal. So when people start criticising, that £12m will be £14m because managers will start saying: 'Oh Samba, he's back, I thought he'd gone. They've not done their money on Samba.'
"Samba should be playing for a top four team. I was trying to sign him for all the years that I was at Tottenham. He is quick as lightning, strong in the air and he can play. When I was at Tottenham we put a ball behind Samba [when he was at Blackburn Rovers], and Bale ran on to it. Bale went and he went and I said: 'Go on Gareth, there's only one winner.' Samba matched him stride for stride and then pinched the ball off him. He's lightning quick. He is a monster of a player, the full ticket.
"Rémy, for £7m, I don't think he's a problem either. If he scores a couple of goals, then he's £12m. Tottenham tried to buy him for £18m last year. The two kids from Tottenham, well one of them [the impressive winger Andros Townsend] is on £3k a week and the other [Jermaine Jenas, whose wages during his 18-month deal will be subsidised by Spurs] is not on very much."
Redknapp's chief concern is a lack of goals and Rémy and Zamora's fitness problems exaggerated the frustration at failing to sign Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie on Thursday. Rangers also allowed Djibril Cissé to leave on loan, although Redknapp derided the French striker, claiming: "I would have let him go earlier. I had to wait for the window to open."
The problem for QPR, apart from the fact that Redknapp has started referring to his club as "they", is not the cost of January's final throw of the dice but more what has gone before. On Saturday Redknapp was able to field 15 internationals in his matchday squad but he could have called on a further seven, including Samba Diakité, Luke Young, Andrew Johnson and José Bosingwa, had they been fit and had the manager wanted to.
Philip Beard, the club's chief executive, dismissed the idea that Loftus Road's 18,360 capacity was a serious concern, claiming that ticket revenues were on a par with at least half of the top-flight teams, but that only emphasises the importance of retaining a share of the Premier League's television deal. This is the outcome of Rangers' Four-Year Plan. Now behold the Four-Month Plan.
Norwich were no less turgid than QPR but their manager, Chris Hughton, believes a drip-drip of points will keep his side safe. After this draw and another point against Tottenham in midweek, Hughton feels that his side's slump has been overcome and he was pleased to give Luciano Becchio, signed from Leeds United last week, a debut as a substitute.
"He'll give us an option up front as it's been tough for Grant [Holt] this season," Hughton said. "Playing one up front means it's been a little less open but he's a real man, Holty. He's knuckled down. With Becchio we can play two up front when we need a bit more physical presence."
Man of the match Andros Townsend (Queens Park Rangers)
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