QPR transfer focus - Taarabt signs new deal to end PSG speculation
A busy week at Queens Park Rangers has seen former captain Adel Taarabt sign a new contract at the club, penning a 3-year-deal that will keep him at Loftus Road for the foreseeable future.
The influential midfielder had been the subject of much transfer speculation in the last two transfer windows, with French giants Paris Saint-Germain being linked with a move for the Moroccan. But with only a year left on his current contract Taarabt has decided to stay with the West London club, determined to push on this season after the narrow escape from relegation last year.
Taarabt was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: “When I first arrived here I thought It would just be for a short time but I love this club and the people here have really helped me. In the time I have been here the club’s ambitions have really changed. Last year’s aim was to stay in the Premier League. We achieved this and now we want to progress and improve.”
With the signings Mark Hughes has brought in, along with tying Taarabt down to a long term contract, it shows QPR are ready to match the intentions of players like Taarabt who are desperate to showcase their skills on the big stage.
In Taarabt’s first full season at QPR he flourished in the Championship, playing attacking, free flowing football. QPR’s manager at the time, Neil Warnock, appointed Taarabt club captain and with 19 goals from 44 appearances for the Hoops that season he was named the Championship Player of the Year.
Going into the Premier League big things were expected of the talisman and he failed to deliver. With the armband taken away, Taarabt often saw himself dragged off in games, with Warnock perhaps seeing him as a luxury Rangers could not afford when fighting a relegation battle.
The appointment of Hughes as manager saw a change of attitude and ultimately a change of fortune for Taarabt with him back as the top dog at Loftus Road, often playing in a free role behind the striker in a 4-5-1 formation. But with only two goals from 26 appearances it was still a disappointing season from a player who so often sparkled only the year before.
This season will be vital for Taarabt if he is to win back the Loftus Road faithful. Many fans will even welcome the cocky swagger that comes with his performances as long as he can reproduce that dazzling form that saw many a nutmeg and a long distance strike at goal. Hughes knows what his moody Moroccan is capable of, as he told by the London Evening Standard that: “There is no question [Taarabt] can produce moments of skill that not many players can.”
Added pressure will come in the form of the famous No.10 shirt that Taarabt will now wear, instead of his usual No.7. Some fans may question whether their former captain has the ability and temperament to put his name amongst R’s legends such as Stan Bowles, who have made their names under the same number.
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