As a new dawn rises out of the ashes of QPR's Premier League adventure, the fire sale continues apace. Next in focus is Djibril Cisse, the firebrand French striker that seemed to spend more time suspended in the stands than playing for the club. After making a good impression at Al Gharafa on loan, the Qataris are putting together a deal to keep Cisse in the Middle East for at least a couple of seasons. Cisse has agreed to have a good look at any deal, but he has his eyes on the World Cup in Brazil, and to that end, interest from Ligue 1 side Montpellier will be much more intriguing to him.
You've got to feel for DJ Campbell. A provisional list of players released from QPR in the close season holds few surprises in it, but to see the Hammersmith-born player's name on it ends an unfortunate chapter in his career. The 31-year-old striker is the most innocent of victims of the rather haphazard transfer policy at the club over the last few seasons. Brought in during the desperate bargain bucket shopping spree of Neil Warnock as the club was cashless and drifting despite returning to the Premier League, thanks to the previous owners refusing to spend money before they sold the club, DJ must have thought his luck was in.
Wayne Bridge - a player that Harry Redknapp identified as his first target of the summer - has signed a one-year deal at fellow Premier League dropouts Reading. Where does that leave our Harry? The Mirror newspaper is reporting that his move for Bridge was blocked by chief executive, Philip Beard, even though Harry was desperately keen to sign the 33-year old defender. That pushes up the QPR manager against a board that has set out clearly its transfer policy from the very start - although wavered from it throughout an ill-thought out relegation season in the Premier League.
It is going to be a busy summer, so it is a good time to have a quick look at what is happening behind the scenes and what we think is on the cards. The main movement so far has been from the Julio Cesar camp, who seem to have agreed terms with Arsenal to move across London. This is good news as it was originally thought that personal terms would be a major sticking point for the Gunners. QPR look set to make a profit on the Brazil international keeper. Arsenal are offering GBP;1 million, but the price could go higher.
Forget about Gareth Bale, or 'man-biter' Luis Suarez -- or even that little Brazilian joining Barcelona next season who looks like he has stepped out of One Dimension, but probably isn't as good as Lionel Messi -- the most divisive transfer of the summer will be Adel Taarabt. The mercurial/maverick Moroccan was at the centre of QPR's successful promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago, and it must be tempting to think that his skill, along with the advance in talent at the club, will be enough to ensure an immediate return to the top flight.
OK, who had under six months in the 'Mark Hughes finds another job sweepstakes'? Certainly nobody associated with the farce that was his tenure at Queens Park Rangers. Hughes has been contacted by Stoke City to take over the reins of Tony Pulis who was sacked on Tuesday. - Hughes leading contender for Stoke job The former Wales, Blackburn and Manchester City manager was in charge at Loftus Road for just ten months, but such devastation was wreaked during his tenure that the club may take up to five years to recover from it.
Thank goodness to Mary that's over. The season from hell slips into the past with a whimper against Liverpool, followed by some industrious defending and ending in a damp squib. Liverpool scored early to win 1-0, and looked like building up a cricket score before finally settling for a gentle run around at the end of a season that has had its tough points for QPR's hosts too. As far as QPR is concerned, is it possible that Anfield has just witnessed the end of the Mark Hughes epoch? A mini era that turned a hard-working honest club into a pariah, a money-spending shell of a club.
There has been a lot of clamour from frustrated QPR fans to "play the kids" for this, the last game for the club in the Premier League. Harry Redknapp rightly poured cold water on that bad idea -- even though we have a young side currently at U18 level that has won its third league title in a row. - Remy available for Liverpool trip Maybe it is because they came through a grueling final against Huddersfield in the week that they should not play. But to put youngsters out at Anfield -- particularly on a day when Liverpool will be looking to celebrate the end of the 16-year career of Jamie Carragher with a win -- would be misguided.
"That [QPR] team wouldn't finish in the top half of the Championship next year, that's the facts." So said Harry Redknapp two Saturdays ago in the wake of another home defeat, this time a 1-0 reversal against an Arsenal side that have won eight of their last 10 -- and only dropped points in two draws, against Manchester United and Everton. Tuesday, they relegated Wigan with a 4-1 drubbing. It is a squad that -- at last count -- consisted of 20 players who have played international football. And we are not talking the Faroe Islands or San Marino here: more England, France, Portugal, South Korea, Cameroon.
It is going to be far too much to ask the vast majority of our wonderful players to play for a bit of pride these final two games - it would appear pride has no place after the fall. Already Stephane Mbia - him of the grand gesture, walking ceremoniously into the crowd after every game to give a young boy his shirt - has allegedly tweeted his way to a new job: he's been fined by the club. Perhaps this is the new policy from now until the end of the season: claw back some of the indecent wages in fines.
Let's start with the most important aspect of Saturday's late afternoon 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal - the team sheet. QPR manager Harry Redknapp has been quite clear that he is not going to field anyone who he feels is not good enough to play for the club. It is a miracle he can get 11 players on the pitch. Samba Diakite again finds himself out of the picture. Junior Hoilett - one of Mark Hughes's bright young things for the future - was nowhere near the first-team squad, and it is difficult to see either featuring again for Redknapp.
Now that we are relegated, the focus must surely be on the 11 players that Harry Redknapp puts on the pitch against Arsenal -- and those on the bench he gives a game. Despite falling short so many times this season, the vibe coming out of the club in the wake of confirmation of the inevitable has been very encouraging. First up: the retaining of Harry Redknapp. This can only be a good thing. For a start, it means some continuity in the coaching of the club, which has been sorely lacking since Tony Fernandes took over.