Here’s a great number to ponder as we consider whether it’s already too late for Queens Park Rangers, whether the (relatively) newly moneyed team from West London are already too far behind to dodge relegation, never mind that it’s still 2012 and we’re just now past the Premiership halfway mark:
QPR is the 15th top-flight team in England to have 10 or fewer points from 20 games. The previous 14 all went down. (Thanks to Opta Sports for that one.)
Yikes. That’s what you call solid statistical evidence that it may, in fact, already be too late.
Following today’s rather awful 3-0 loss at Loftus Road to Liverpool, QPR remains dead last in the 20-team Premiership.
This matters, because resurrection specialist Harry Redknapp was brought in specifically to rescue the season. He would surely like to add a piece or two or three in the January transfer window. But honestly, can he add enough? Would it be wiser to save the money, spending some of it more strategically this summer for the attempted climb back into top-flight soccer?
Redknapp is remaining resolute – in public, at least. Here’s what he said after today’s loss:
I still believe we will get out of trouble. You mustn’t give up. If we can get one or two [new signings] in it could make the difference. It’s going to be hard. There’s plenty of game left. It is not impossible.
“We have to believe we can go on a run of winning games. I’m still upbeat, I’m not downbeat about it. Chelsea and Tottenham are flying and they are our next two games but you never know in football. Eight points is not insurmountable.”
Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.
The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.
Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.
Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.
Like the move for Newcastle?
Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.
The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.
From The Players’ Tribune:
There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.
Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.
West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.
[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]
Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.
Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.
Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.
“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”
In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.
[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]
There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.
Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.