Craziest transfers? Remembering QPR's Premier League spending spree before 2013 relegation

  • Kobe Tong
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Queens Park Rangers threw the kitchen sink at their return to the Premier League in 2011.

Returning to the top-flight on the back of a Championship-winning season famed for Adel Taarabt’s heroics, the Rs proceeded to embark on one of the wildest spending sprees that we’ve ever seen.

Buoyed by the riches of Tony Fernandes, QPR went on to make an eye-watering 25 signings in what proved to be a two-year stay in the Premier League, ultimately suffering relegation in 2013.

QPR’s wild spending spree

It was a textbook example of money being unable to buy success despite QPR punching wildly above their weight with transfers under Neil Warnock, Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp.

And while that might not have worked out for the west London club at the time, it certainly makes for a fascinating case study when we look back on the Premier League splurge almost a decade later

In fact, using transfer fee and wage data from the Daily Mail, we’ve decided to reminisce on every QPR signing between 2011 and 2013 to see what happened to them since – check it out below:

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1. Joey Barton

Free – £70,000-per-week

Barton looked like a real coup for QPR on the back of an impressive season with Newcastle, but was swiftly loaned out to Marseille and can now be found in management with Bristol Rovers.

2. Luke Young

Undisclosed – £45,000-per-week

The five-cap England defender is now retired after seeing out his career at Loftus Road in 2014. 

3. Armand Traore

£1.2million – £40,000-per-week

Signed on the back of an 8-2 humiliation with Arsenal, Traore spent half a decade with QPR, but flirted with retirement in 2020 having last been seen on a short-term deal with Cardiff City. 

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4. Shaun Wright-Phillips

£2 million – £60,000-per-week

Just one year on from playing at the World Cup with England, Wright-Phillips flattered to deceive in west London, going on to play for New York Red Bulls and Phoenix Rising before retiring in 2016.

5. Anton Ferdinand

£2.5 million – £45,000-per-week

After two seasons in the Premier League with Rangers, Ferdinand retired on the back of spells in Turkey, England and Scotland. He has recently campaigned against online abuse and racism.

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6. Jason Puncheon

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Who remembers this?! Me neither because Puncheon only ever made two appearances for the Rs and can currently be found playing for Pafos in Cyprus after a long career in the Premier League.

7. Nedum Onuoha

£3 million – £55,000-per-week

One of the most successful signings of the bunch, Onuoha became a long-term servant at Loftus Road and eventually moved to Real Salt Lake in 2018 for whom he was last seen playing.

8. Djibril Cisse

£4 million – £60,000-per-week

Without Cisse, 39, it’s doubtful that QPR would ever have stayed up in 2012, but he couldn’t repeat his heroics the following year and was last seen in the US fourth-tier with Panathinaikos Chicago.

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9. Bobby Zamora

£6 million – £70,000-per-week

Truth be told, Zamora’s move from Fulham to QPR seriously underwhelmed and having retired in 2016, the ex-England international most recently made headlines for having an 11-storey flat project with Mark Noble rejected.

10. Samba Diakite

£3.5 million – £45,000-per-week

Last seen playing in Kuwait with Al-Tadamon SC, Diakite’s QPR career petered out as quickly as it started and ultimately led to a forgettable loan spell with Watford.

11. Federico Macheda

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Ah yes, the ultimate ‘what could have been?’ player from Manchester United. Things might not have worked out for Macheda at Loftus Road, but he’s now thriving out in Greece with Panathinaikos.

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12. Taye Taiwo

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Yes, that is the same Taiwo who played for AC Milan and Nigeria. The left-back went on to make 15 appearances for the Rs and most recently signed for newly-founded Palm Beach Stars in the US.

13. Andy Johnson

Free – £40,000-per-week

By the time Johnson signed for QPR, he was openly winding down his career – later retiring after a return to Crystal Palace – and now heads sport and entertainment for business advisory firm, Fortus.

14. Ryan Nelsen

Free – £35,000-per-week

A brief spell with Nelsen proved to be the swan song for his impressive Premier League career and the Kiwi has turned his hand at both coaching and representing players since hanging up his boots.

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15. Stephane Mbia

£5 million – £50,000-per-week

A regular in the QPR team that dropped down to the Championship in 2012/13, Mbia has spent the last few years plying his trade in the Chinese Super League and currently represents Wuhan FC.

16. Robert Green

Free – £50,000-per-week

Green made over 100 appearances for Rangers, though only 16 came in the Premier League and he’s currently one of the finest pundits on television having retired in 2019 on the back of a bizarre spell at Chelsea.

17. Park Ji-sung

£2 million – £70,000-per-week

When Park left Old Trafford, he just never looked the same and decided to retire in 2014 after a loan spell with PSV Eindhoven. He’s currently an advisor for K-League club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC.

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18. Junior Hoilett

£4 million – £50,000-per-week

One of the more long-term investments in QPR’s spending spree, Hoilett appeared in over 100 games for the club and has been similarly loyal to Cardiff since his Championship switch in 2016.

19. Jose Bosingwa

Free – unknown

Astonishingly, QPR managed to get their hands on Bosingwa just a few weeks after he won the Champions League with Chelsea. He retired in 2016 upon completing a spell with Trabzonspor.

20. Esteban Granero 

£3.5 million – £65,000-per-week

Yup, that’s right, QPR genuinely signed a player from Real Madrid. Sadly, though, it didn’t work out for Granero – who nows plays in Spain’s lower leagues with Marbella – as he scored just one Premier League goal

21. Julio Cesar

Free – £75,000-per-week

How on earth did this ever happen?! Cesar embarked on a bizarre spell with QPR between playing at World Cups for Brazil and eventually hung up his gloves in 2018 while on Flamengo’s books.

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22. Fabio 

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The then Manchester United loanee is still only 30 years old and currently plies his trade for Nantes.

23. Loic Remy

£8 million – £80,000-per-week

Now playing out in Turkey with Çaykur Rizespor, Remy was a real hit in west London – scoring six goals and 16 games – before winning the Premier League title with Chelsea.

24. Chris Samba

£12 million – £100,000-per-week

The less said about Samba’s time with QPR, the better. The Congolese defender hung up his boots on the back of an Aston Villa spell in 2017/18 and has studied for his coaching badges ever since.

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25. Jermaine Jenas

Undisclosed – £40,000-per-week

Jenas was frequently picking up injuries at the backend of his playing career, eventually retiring on the back of his QPR spell, but is now thriving in the world of broadcasting as a pundit and presenter.

26. Andros Townsend

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You could tell from his brief spell at Loftus Road that Townsend was a serious talent and that’s proven to be true, currently playing at Crystal Palace for whom he’s featured in over 100 games.

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Talk about a wild bunch of players. It’s hard to imagine there ever being a crazier Premier League spending spree than QPR shopping at United, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Real and Arsenal. Madness.

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