Michael Laudrup will consider a return to the Premier League amid rumours strongly linking him to manager-less club Queens Park Rangers, but his agent has confirmed that he unlikely to be available until the end of the season.
The former Swansea manager is currently in charge of Qatari side Lekhwiya, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season. But after Harry Redknapp left the club in a shock announcement at the start of the month and Tim Sherwood pulled out of the race to replace him last night, Laudrup immediately became the new bookmakers’ favourite to be the next permanent manager at Loftus Road.
That could yet be the case, but as the Evening Standard reports this morning, QPR would need to buy-out his contract in order to speak to him otherwise wait until the end of the season when the Dane becomes a free agent.
Contenders to be next QPR manager
Contenders to be next QPR manager
1/6 Michael Laudrup
There is huge respect for Laudrup on these shores following his stint with Swansea during which he led them to League Cup success in 2013 playing a stylish brand of football on a tight budget. The former Barcelona player also enjoyed success with Brondby and is currently manager of Qatari team Lekhwiya, though he is unlikely to be available until the end of the season.
2/6 Tim Sherwood
The Independent columnist has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham at the end of last season. The former Blackburn player came close to taking the job at West Brom last month and has been linked with almost every vacancy going since becoming available, but pulled out of the race to replace Harry Redknapp on Tuesday 10 February.
3/6 Les Ferdinand
Another contender already at Loftus Road, Ferdinand held the role of head of football operations before he was appointed director of footba;;. The striker also played for QPR in the early stages of his career, scoring 80 league goals for the Hoops. That might make him a popular choice with fans but he has no management experience.
4/6 Steve McClaren
The former England manager held a coaching role at QPR before he was appointed to his current position as manager of Derby County. With the Rams currently in one of the automatic promotion spots in the Championship it might be difficult to tempt him away.
5/6 Gianfranco Zola
Links with local rivals Chelsea might not endear him to supporters although the Italian is a likeable character and could turn opinion around. Had a mixed spell as manager of West Ham and nearly guided Watford to promotion from the Championship in 2013. Was only recently appointed as manager of Serie A side Cagliari.
6/6 Chris Ramsey
The current caretaker manager appears to a be a likely candidate to remain in charge until the end of the season. Ramsey made 100 league appearances for Swindon Town and joined Rangers' coaching staff in November last year.
Laudrup’s agent Bayram Tutumlu has confirmed that a return to England, which he left in February last year, would be of interest. Tutumlu told the Evening Standard: “The problem is not salary. He likes England so much he would take less money than he is getting now. The problem is he is under contract.
“Michael signed a contract for one-year with Lekhwiya in Qatar. The club, the president, the owner is very, very happy with him.
“It’s the same owners as Paris St-Germain and these people pay very well, a lot of money. I don’t think they will let him go. They are very strong these people. Michael has taken them to first place in the league and he is regarded as the most important person in the club right now.
“I don’t think it is the right thing for Michael to leave now and go because he has agreed a contract with these people. I don’t think it’s possible.”
News was reported earlier today that Laudrup was out of the running to become QPR’s new “dream manager” that club owner Tony Fernandes tweeted about on Tuesday night.
The Malaysian businessman wrote on his official Twitter account: “I think I have got my dream manager. Not what anyone thinks. Take a while. Still a bit to go but I’m very happy.”
And while Tutumlu did hint at a Premier League return in the near future, he refused to confirm whether Rangers had been in contact with either himself of Lekhwiya.
“I don’t want to speak about whether QPR have been in contact, that’s private,” Tutumlu added. “I can only say he loves English football and the Premier League. It’s just not possible right now. If QPR want Michael, I tell everyone the same thing, the first thing they must do is speak to Lekhwiya.
“In June his contract will finish and he will be free. I’m not sure if they will want compensation to let him go now, first QPR have to talk to them.
“You can never say never and he could return to the Premier League. If the right club comes, the right project — why not?”
Current caretaker manager Chris Ramsey, who oversaw the club’s first away win this season in the 2-0 victory at Sunderland last night, could be retained until the end of the season if he continues to impress. Should QPR suffer relegation and drop to the Championship, Laudrup is unlikely to favour a switch given that he has already proven himself in the top flight, and the club’s worrying future in terms of a possible fine of up to £54m and transfer embargo is likely to put a lot of managers off taken control of the club as it appeared to do so with Sherwood.
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