Seemingly unwilling to sign anybody he hasn’t managed at some point of his lengthy career, Harry Redknapp’s transfer telescope has spotted a viable target in the Middle East.
With candles burning for MLS assets Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe, as well as Stoke striker Peter Crouch, the latest offerings from the rumour mill say the QPR boss has added Nigerian striker Yakubu to his January wish list.
Adding to his attacking arsenal is of the utmost importance for the Loftus Road outfit, with first-choice line-leader Charlie Austin the only player capable of getting the goals required to keep the west London club afloat in the Premier League.
The former bricklayer has bagged 12 of the R’s 21 strikes in the top-tier this term and, even more worryingly, the club haven’t collected a single point without him on the field.
Even a month-long spell on the sidelines for Austin could have disastrous ramifications as far as their survival hopes are concerned, which makes their 8/5 for relegation a good-value wager.
Redknapp’s solution to this quandary – buy a burden-sharing striker – is a logical one, but the west Londoners’ transfer coffers are somewhat depleted, sparking a challenging search for a budget-friendly centre-forward.
Yakubu, of Al-Rayyan in Qatar, falls into this bracket and, still only 32, he represents a risk worth taking.
The battering ram from Benin City has bagged three goals in eight appearances for his current employers, whom he joined after notching 25 in 45 for Chinese outfit Guangzhou.
His Premier League record is especially laudable; he struck a combined 50 goals in 155 games for Middlesbrough and Everton, while he improved his strike rate with 17 in 30 for Blackburn.
Under Redknapp’s guidance at Portsmouth he was on the scoresheet 36 times in 78 league outings too.
With a grand total of 121 Premier League goals to his name, Yakubu easily outstrips the 54 managed by the Super Hoops’ ancillary striker Bobby Zamora, while fellow forward Eduardo Vargas has been on target just twice all season.
The Nigerian is proven to be a more adept top-level goal-getter than either of the Austin alternatives currently on QPR’s books and, with just six months left on his contract in Qatar, the chances of landing him cheaply and permanently are strong, which can’t be said of the other names they’re said to be tracking.