Harry Redknapp has voiced his frustration at the "gang warfare" being waged between players' agents which he believes has hampered Queens Park Rangers' attempts to strengthen their squad during the current transfer window.
The Premier League's bottom club host the champions, Manchester City, on Tuesday and, having been humiliated by League One Milton Keynes Dons in the FA Cup at the weekend, still hope to bring in as many as four players before Thursday's cut-off to aid their fight against relegation.
Interest is maintained in West Bromwich Albion's forward Peter Odemwingie and the Porto centre-back Rolando, though even Redknapp, such a seasoned negotiator in the market, has been taken aback at the complexities of striking deals this month.
"I have never seen anything like this transfer window," said the QPR manager. "Every agent seems to be trying to screw each other. It's like gang warfare out there – it's scary. If you're trying to get a player, another agent will try to scupper that deal if he's not involved in it to try to get you to have one of his instead. It's unreal. Unbelievable. I have been to meet players and people have said: 'Oh, you have spoken to the agent? Well I am the only person who can deal with the club.' Oh are you? OK, fine. Then someone else says: 'He's not the person you should be dealing with, you should be dealing with me.'
"Every deal has been like that. It makes things so difficult. It's not just the person who deals with the players: it's dealing with the person who controls the player, or who wants to be in on the deal. It's so hard to get to the bottom of it all. They're all fighting for big money, that's the problem, and there aren't that many deals happening.
"If someone can see themselves muscling in on a deal … well, it's a bit like ice cream sellers in Glasgow. Someone is nicking their pitch, so someone's gonna shoot them or something. In the end I have left it to the chairman [Tony Fernandes] because it was doing my head in. Tony's trying for his life but every deal is so complicated. You wonder where it is going to finish up, given the agents are at each others' throats."
As if to illustrate the point, Redknapp held up his battered old Nokia 6210 mobile telephone to declare he had received another text from an agent offering him "four players", joking they were "all rubbish". He will attend a work permit hearing for the South Korean left-back Yun Suk-young on Tuesday in the hope he will be granted international clearance to join from Chunnam Dragons. The 22-year-old has been watched regularly by the QPR chief scout, Ian Broomfield, and has attracted interest from Fulham and Liverpool. "We'll put the case for him," said the QPR manager. "Ian saw him play three times at the Olympics and there are a lot of clubs in for him."
Redknapp has tracked Montpellier's Younès Belhanda and Toulouse's Etienne Capoue – though he admitted the latter could prove "too expensive" – while deals for Odemwingie and Rolando are also likely to prove complicated, with West Brom having now rejected two offers for the Nigeria striker, who has publicly expressed a desire to leave the Hawthorns.
The last offer was £3m for the 31-year-old, who reacted angrily on Twitter at confirmation that it had been knocked back. His outburst over the weekend is expected to prompt a club fine of two weeks' wages. Fernandes will deal directly with West Brom on that player, and with Porto over Rolando after Redknapp met the defender, with a fee of around £7m mooted. "We had a good chat and it was great but it's up to the chairman in the end," added the manager. "He'd be a good player if we could get him."
The centre-half will be needed with Anton Ferdinand set to move to Bursaspor on loan and Ryan Nelsen to depart for Toronto, most likely after Saturday's game against Norwich. Redknapp hopes to move others out on loan, not least the former Chelsea full-back José Bosingwa who has not featured since refusing to sit on the bench for the derby against Fulham last month, allowing him leeway to add to his own.
"We've got a few irons in the fire and I'd like to bring three or four in," added the QPR manager. "We have this month to try and put right what's gone wrong here. There are things I'd like to do here that need doing, drastic measures on the playing staff, but if I can get the players I'm after in, we'll have a chance."
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