Is this QPR’s strangest signing of the season?

Benayoun

Yossi Benayoun's move to west London is a puzzling one.

Yossi Benayoun’s transfer to QPR has to rank as one of the stranger moves of the season.

The 33-year-old Israeli had been training with Rangers for the last two weeks, finally joining the club this week, and he is set to stay at Loftus Road until the end of the season.

First, the positives: Benayoun is a player of real pedigree, having played in the Premier League for West Ham United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. He won the Europa League with the Blues last season, his first major honour since the Israeli Premier League in 2002.

He is as hard-working and honest a character as you are likely to meet, a great competitor who has been a favourite among supporters at just about every club he has been at.

There is also the nature of the contract to consider. Benayoun will stay until the end of the season, a sensible move by the club not to offer a long contract to a player well over 30 – clearly they have learned from some of their mistakes of recent years.

Which brings us to the negatives – is another aging ex-Premier League player what QPR need? Particularly one who could not find a club since Chelsea let him go during the summer.

It has certainly been Harry Redknapp’s policy this season to pack his team with experience. Some have proved successful – think Richard Dunne, Gary O’Neil and Benoit Assou-Ekotto – while others have been less so. Niko Kranjcar, for example, has shown glimpses of quality but has so far not played at the level which Redknapp and the fans would have hoped.

Similarly, another player on a short-term contract merely leaves a gaping gap at the end of the season. QPR will quite possibly lose Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar and Tom Carroll at the end of the season. Others, the likes of Joey Barton and Junior Hoilett may not stick around, while figures such as Dunne and Clint Hill are coming towards the end of their careers.

Is it really too much to hope for that Redknapp might invest in some younger players who can develop at the club to reach their peak over the next two, four or five years?

It all smacks of short-term thinking. Short-term gain, certainly, if QPR get into the Premier League? But what then? A return to the top-flight with a team of players the other side of 30.

Is that really where QPR want to be?

image: © wonker

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