Queen’s Park Rangers have begun life in the second tier with both Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips in the side, something which may have sounded strange when they were initially demoted into the Championship.
Manager Chris Ramsey presided over the disastrous end to their Premier League campaign, and looks to guide the London side back into the promised land. With England striker Austin in the team, his job has become a lot easier.
Barely high-flying, the R’s sit in 9th position as a sense of stability has set into a club who have yo-yoed between their current division and the top tier. Much has been made about the club’s transfer policy in recent seasons, with a host of overpaid and bloated egos walking in and out of Loftus Road.
Chairman Tony Fernandes has plundered millions into the club, with swathes of his expensive arrivals failing to cut the mustard…
Here are SIX free transfers those behind the scenes in West London should consider in their quest for all things Premier League.
The former West Ham man is without a club after leaving the Hammers towards the end of the summer. Though now a veteran of the game at 33-years of age, the ex-Bolton and Newcastle United supremo can surely still operate expertly in the Championship.
With Austin the leading scorer in the division, you might be mistaken for thinking the R’s don’t require extra help in that respect. However, he is uncertain to stay at the club as he enters the final six months of his deal.
Nolan’s trademark is his ability to chip in with vital goals from the engine room. When the club have failed before, they have tended to go for big name egos who have failed to put a shift in – think Jose Bosingwa etc. With Nolan, you are getting a hard working professional who was captaining a Premier League side last year.
At 31-years old, another former West Ham could certainly come and do a job in the Championship. Though probably not on the same level as their current Number 9, the uncertainty surrounding Austin makes it risky when trying to pin your promotion hopes on him.
The former Chelsea academy player has an England cap to his name, and while he may not be the most nuanced of footballers, he is certainly a grafter. Currently training with Celtic, and reportedly turning down lucrative moves to the US, the man is surely a force to be reckoned with at Championship level.
The name on everyone’s lips after his heroics in the 2014 World Cup, the Dutch bruiser is likely to thrill in England’s second tier. His no nonsense type of defending would be an excellent bedrock on to which build a promotion push.
Currently out injured, he has not been able to find a top level club since leaving Aston Villa – where he was captain.
It was only this time last year he was linked with Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, so Ramsey may be willing to take a chance on the centre-back, injury or not.
A third ex-Hammer makes his way into our list. The Ivorian was released under new boss Slaven Bilic and has been able to find another club thus far.
Able to operate as both a right-back, and a centre-half, his arrival could add stability and assurance ahead of the gruelling Championship season.
The Newcastle cult hero has been in talks with Wolves, but has been unable to reach an agreement with Kenny Jackett’s side.
Now, Ameobi is an odd footballer. He never looks as if he’s trying, or really is any good. However, over a decade as a Magpies man (and they were good for some of that time), suggests he has more ability than you might think.
Don’t forget, he’s a Nigerian international and appeared at last year’s World Cup. Ex-boss Alan Pardew must have seen something in him to take him on at Crystal Palace, where he has recently been released.
At 31, he could be as viable an alternative to Austin as he would be a partner.
It’s easy to forget just how good the combative Honduran was during his time at Wigan and Tottenham.
Despite niggling injuries at Stoke City, the feisty midfielder is surely able to control games in the Championship. He could be a good alternative to Sandro, who despite sometimes looking like a world beater, is prone to mistakes.
The 31-year old can shore up an engine room, and when fit, will give his all for the team.