Last season’s Championship Player of the Year and QPR’s prize asset Adel Taarabt has been subject to intense speculation about his future. The Moroccan playmaker was a sensation in England’s second tier last season and such fine form has seen Taarabt heavily linked with a move to France and Paris St Germain.
If you had asked many QPR fans which players they would have wanted to stay for their first season back in the Premier League, I would expect many would have said their captain Taarabt. But the midfielder’s brilliance is too often out-weighed by sparks of petulance. During a game with Hull last season Taarabt argued with team-mates, sulked and then asked to be substituted in the first half, a display that reportedly ended Manchester United’s interest in the player after a scout was present. With a huge task facing QPR next season and a possible relegation fight on their hands, would they be better off to let Taarabt leave for a good price?
Despite dominating large parts of the Championship last season, QPR face the same problems of all promoted teams when competing in arguably the toughest league in the world. Promoted teams best chances are often based on strength, organisation and consistency. The past ten years has been littered with a few examples of how best to stay in England’s top flight, including Bolton back in 2001/02 and more recently Stoke in 2008/09. Roy Hodgson’s turnaround at West Brom last season changed them from the ultimate yo-yo team to a solid, strong team unit capable of fighting to stay in the Premier League.
There is no doubting Taarabt’s skill and talent; there were times last season where he stood head and shoulders above the rest with ability that could have graced any league in the world. 19 goals and 16 assists from midfield rightly earned him the Championship Player of the Year and Neil Warnock worked hard to get the best out of Taarabt.
But is he a risk in the Premier League? At times QPR will not be able to play their attractive football based around the skill of Taarabt, many games against the top clubs and those around them will require hard work and compact displays where Taarabt may not see as much of the ball. He would have to be willing and able to adapt his game in the Premier League.
QPR teammate Shaun Derry has spoken about his surprise that Taarabt is still with the club, going as far to label him a “liability”.
“Last year he was incredible for us, he was absolutely fantastic at times and at other times he was terrible and that sums him up in a few words,” Derry told talkSPORT.
QPR can ill-afford liabilities and such a description from an experienced and important figure from within the club like Derry raises serious questions about how Taarabt’s temperament would suit the Premier League.
The influential midfielder does look to edging closer to a move away for a figure thought to be around £13.5million, especially after he was left out of their pre-season tour.
As a neutral it will be a shame not too see Taarabt attempt to grace the Premier League will his skill and undoubted talent. He, along with all his QPR teammates deserve a shot at the top flight after such an impressive season last year but for Warnock and QPR it may be the right time to cash in on their prize asset in a league where consistency and strength may be their best hope.
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