Organised chaos. That’s probably the best way to describe QPR’s summer transfer business—if you’re being kind. The arrival of Esteban Granero from Real Madrid should have been a great marker of intent; here was a product from Castilla, and a player from whom so much of QPR’s good attacking work could be channelled through.
The initial reported fee of £9 million would have appeared an excellent bargain for QPR, but the most recent indications are that the fee was in fact much lower. When so many Premier League clubs are on the look out for quality midfield additions, QPR should be applauded for the way in which they swooped in and picked up the former Real Madrid player from under the noses of the bigger clubs in England.
The results obviously haven’t been everything Granero would have hoped for at his new club. In fact, he recently went on to draw comparisons to his first of two seasons at Getafe, where the club eventually rose up the table following a string of good results.
But even with the quality of Granero, it seems as though his impressive capture has gone under the radar for far greater and much more concerning issues.
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It would have been the right call to move for a player of Granero’s calibre. QPR obviously wanted this season to be the year where they dug in and established themselves as a Premier League regular. Bringing in players like Julio Cesar and Granero will only help to force their stay in the top-flight.
But have others missed out? It should never be assumed that Granero was just at Madrid to fill a spot on the bench. His role was very much to relieve players such as Sami Khedira or Xabi Alonso, for whom there was little competition for regular spots in the midfield.
The ease at which Granero would slip into the team midway through a game spoke of his quality and technical ability, one which wasn’t out of place among the stars of Jose Mourinho’s team.
He’s hardly the creative outlet that most teams would crave, but he’s a very good player to help the transition from defence to attack. Granero will keep the ball moving while also cutting off passing lanes for opposition attackers. He’ll play the midfield holding role but he certainly isn’t in the same vein as an all action defensive midfielder.
It should also speak volumes about how good he can be due to the length of time he remained at the Bernabeu, even with the club’s ability to spend heavily in the transfer market. Where players like Hamit Altintop and now Michael Essien have come in for the solitary season, the Spaniard found plenty of confidence in his own ability to remain a good addition to the squad for three seasons.
There’s certainly nothing glamorous about his name or the nature of his signing, but it shouldn’t be assumed that he couldn’t do a good job at a team further up the Premier League ladder. Manchester United, for example, saw most of their transfer budget exhausted on front line attackers, but the lack of a regular midfield player has been the overriding issue. Where it has most recently been revealed that Granero was prized from Madrid for much less than £10 million, United may feel that a good opportunity and a good signing has been missed.
As with most players who move from Spain to England, Granero will take time to not only become accustomed to the Premier League but also to make the league aware of his quality. He was a good signing for QPR and will only help them improve if he’s given license to be one of the key players in the team. But sooner rather than later, the big clubs in the league will catch onto Granero and the services he can bring to their team.