Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is shattering his club’s wage structure in a desperate quest for Premier League survival, pressing ahead for central defender Chris Samba six months after his predecessor Mark Hughes decided that the size of investment was far too high.
Samba’s release clause at Anzhi Makhachkala is £12.5m and with the Russian club also paying the player a huge six-figure weekly salary, after bonuses, Rangers were also being asked to pay out around £65-70,000-a-week, this summer, to bring the player to Loftus Road. Hughes desperately needed central defensive reinforcements at the time but he rejected the cost of Samba as bad and unsustainable piece of business for a 28-year-old with minimal resale value - and one that did not fit into the club’s wage structure. Yet Redknapp is ready to spend, with the wage cost of bringing Samba back to Britain from Russia now understood to have increased to a figure closer to £100,000-a-week.
Redknapp has also pursued Fulham’s Brede Hangeland – another player whose wage demands were deemed too high this summer by Hughes, who went into the season with Anton Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen after considering the wages demands of Stoke City ’s Ryan Shawcross and Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson unrealistic for Rangers. Rangers are likely to have a sell clause for Samba if they are relegated, but finding a new club for a player who cost 312m and is earning £100,000 a week would be challenging in the extreme.
Hughes has been characterised as a profligate manager by his successor. But after signing 26-year-old Loic Remy from Marseilles on a deal of £80,000-a-week for a club record fee of £8m, Redknapp clearly feels that he needs to spend more. He has sent Ferdinand on loan to Bursaspor and Nelson will become head coach of Toronto FC. That has left the manager also pursuing the £7.5m-rated Porto central defender, Rolando, though sources in Portugal suggest the 27-year-old prefers a six-month loan move to Napoli.
Redknapp said last month that “a lot of agents” had made “an awful lot of money” out of Rangers under Hughes. “I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past,” he said.
Samba left Anzhi's winter training camp in Marbella on Tuesday and the club's manager, Guus Hiddink, yesterday confirmed his departure for London . "It's not a very good situation," Hiddink told the Russian Sport Express newspaper. "Unfortunately we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him. Everything has developed very quickly." The Congolese defender cost Anzhi £12.3m when he moved from Blackburn in February 2012.
Hughes’ outlay on wages for free transfer goalkeepers Rob Green and Julio Cesar this summer was the equivalent to the combined £80,000-a-week and £4.5/5m the club was being quoted for West Bromwich Albion’s Ben Foster and Julio Cesar at the time.
Ricardo Carvalho would have moved from Real Madrid on a free transfer if Rangers had been willing taken over his salary of £130,000 a week. Hughes was sacked in November after Rangers had failed to manage one win.