QPR chief executive Philip Beard said he is confident of keeping the club's star players even if the team is relegated in May. Here are five he should not be so sure of...
Remember this is only if QPR are relegated. They might just go and win against Arsenal tomorrow just like they did against Liverpool and turn their season around.
Moroccan midfielder Taarabt nearly left the club to go and play for PSG last summer, which unsettled him at the start of the season. He will not relish the thought of another season in the Championship, despite his success there last term, and would see it as a backwards step. There will be plenty of suitors for him and and abroad, and QPR could raise a decent portion of cash for him. QPR will not want to lose him though, seeing as he was so instrumental in helping them climb out of the division last time, but Taarabt will take some convincing.
Joey Barton is his own biggest fan, a believer he should be a part of the England set up. Those who have watched him regularly will disagree, including his manager Mark Hughes who saw fit to bench him last time out. He will want to prove his critics wrong as quickly as possible, and that will mean playing in the Premier League. QPR may be well rid of the distractions Barton brings too and if they get a good offer they should take it.
When Cisse was convinced to leave Serie A side Lazio this January, he did not come because he wanted to play Championship football. Whether his contract contains a relegation clause allowing him to go for a certain price is still to be determined, although there is no chance of the club 'doing a Demba Ba' and allowing him to leave on a free like West Ham did. Cisse has proved he can score in the Premier League, if he can just stay on the pitch. His two red cards have angered owner Tony Fernandes who may want shot of him.
After recovering from a broken leg sustained last season, Mackie has fought off competition to become a regular source of goals for the club. He could easily do a job for a club in the lower half of the Premier League table, and his strikes will not have gone unnoticed by managers. Again we say if QPR are relegated, they will face a battle to hang onto Mackie, who has shown he belongs at this level.
Two years ago Zamora was scoring the goals which took Fulham to the Europa League Final. If he finds himself in the Championship this summer he will look at negotiating himself another move. Like Cisse, he is a January signing who may have a clause in his contract, but he can save himself and the club a whole load of hassle by proving in the season's final eight games that he has what it takes. If he is that good, surely he can prevent QPR from being relegated?
Let us know what you think, will QPR stay up? Is Philip Beard right, if the club do go down, will they be able to hang onto their star players, or could these five be off?
image: © Tom Cuppens