Why QPR won't regret missing out on Hangeland

The Norwegian defender has joined Crystal Palace despite previously being linked with the Rs.

For a time this summer, it looked rather likely that Brede Hangeland would move to Queens Park Rangers.

The 33-year-old had left Fulham in controversial circumstances and the best possible way to get back at the Cottagers would have been a move to their west London rivals.

Come August, however, QPR have signed two new centre-backs - but Hangeland is not one of them. Instead, the Norwegian was today unveiled as Crystal Palace's newest recruit.

An opportunity missed, then, for Harry Redknapp, who needs as watertight a defence as he can find?

Not necessarily.

  TeamPosTackles Won / appEffective Clearances / appInterceptions Won / appAerial Duels Won / appAppsMins
Brede Hangeland Fulham DF 0.87 7.96 1.61 2.48 23 1,906
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 0.82 8.58 1.24 3.79 38 3,420

As Opta stats show, QPR have signed just as good a defender this summer in Steven Caulker as they ever would have got in Hangeland.

Palace boss Tony Pulis has been lauded for bringing the towering centre-back to Selhurst Park but many have failed to recognise that the Norwegian is past his best. Caulker, on the other hand, is just 22 and looks to have an illustrious career ahead of him.

Making 15 more Premier League appearances than Hangeland last season, the then Cardiff City defender made more clearances per game and won more aerial duels, also providing a regular goal threat from set-pieces.

Out of the two, then, it is no contest: Caulker was always going to be Redknapp's first choice.

Granted, Hangeland could still have been signed alongside the 22-year-old but, even there, he would have been a backup option for Redknapp, who was just as interested in Rio Ferdinand all summer as he was Caulker.

Ferdinand's career was launched by the Rs boss and, if it is experience you want, you cannot get a better-traveled defender than the former England captain.

So, while Hangeland may succeed at Crystal Palace, QPR will survive just fine without him. Ferdinand will provide the nous, Caulker the future.

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