This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Birmingham City are reportedly preparing a January move for Nahki Wells in a potential deal which would threaten to derail QPR’s season.
The Burnley striker is in his second loan spell at the club in as many years and he appears to be enjoying life under Mark Warburton, playing alongside Jordan Hugill.
According to The Sun (03/11, p.61), as reported by HITC, the Clarets want £6m for the 29-year-old, a figure which likely puts him out of the west London outfit’s reach if they were to attempt a permanent transfer.
The club had to offload players in the summer in an attempt to reduce the wage bill, and therefore an approach by Blues would likely leave QPR in a position where they are forced to see Wells depart.
Mark Warburton will hold out hope that Burnley stay true to the season-long loan deal arrangement, and not recall him in a couple of months in order to move him on, as to lose him now would be a big blow.
Wells has become a key focal point of the attack and fitted in well with Hugill and Eberechi Eze, and his departure would likely mean that QPR can say goodbye to any hopes of making the play-offs.
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The Bermuda international already has seven league goals this term, equalling his total in the 2018/19 season.
It also means he is well on his way to bettering the totals achieved by the highest scorer in each of the past four campaigns, with Matt Smith’s tally of 11 in 2017/18 the highest in those years.
That underlines his importance to the team, while he has twice linked up with Hugill to participate in goals, allowing his strike partner to thrive in this QPR set-up as well.
According to WhoScored, he has averaged 0.8 key passes from his 13 league games, and that has played a significant part in QPR ranking joint-third for goals scored in the Championship, with a total of 24.
It is difficult to find all-round strikers such as Wells, particularly when the club is seeking loan deals due to budget constraints, and that means the club could easily fail to replace him sufficiently.
Losing his goals would increase the reliance on Hugill and Eze, both of whom face an uncertain future, with Hugill also on loan and Premier League interest in the latter.
As a result, QPR should do whatever they can to keep him at the club, as he could be an effective long-term servant.