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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Alberti and Mahon on Their Way Out?

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Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - The more the merrier?
- BEN Watson will sign a permanent deal with QPR in the new year after joining the club on loan from Wigan this week.

Rangers have already agreed a fee in the region of £2m for the midfielder whose signature they first pursued more than a year ago, when he was still at Crystal Palace.

But the signing of Watson leaves the midfield department at Loftus Road somewhat crowded - including the injured Lee Cook, Jim Magilton now has 12 central or wide players at his disposal.

It seems unlikely that Magilton could successfully pair the 24-year-old with skipper Martin Rowlands, who fills an energetic, box-to-box role almost identical to that of the new arrival.

Mikele Leigertwood can also play in that position - and since he arrived at the club almost exactly two years ago, the Rs have now signed a staggering SIXTEEN more midfield players in total.

Watson's signing was the only activity at Loftus Road on transfer deadline day, but it seems inevitable that the rapid turnover of players will continue with some departures when the loan window opens.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan turned down two Rangers bids for Watson last year as he refused to sell one of his prize assets to a club then managed by his bĂȘte noire Iain Dowie.

Instead, the midfielder signed for Wigan in January and made 10 appearances for the Latics, but fell out of favour when Roberto Martinez replaced Steve Bruce as manager during the close season.

Watson is set to make his QPR debut a week on Saturday against Peterborough - with Palace the visitors to Loftus Road three days later.

Contrary to reports this week, it is understood that Rangers never made a formal bid for Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper ahead of the transfer deadline.

QPR sporting director Gianni Paladini was told that Scunthorpe would not sell Hooper at any price when he spoke to chairman Steve Wharton after last weekend's game at Glanford Park. Kilburn Times

Ealing Gazette/London Informer - Paul Warburton - New QPR signing sees players surplus to requirements
- MATTEO ALBERTI and Gavin Mahon are top of the QPR list lined up to make way for new loan signing Ben Watson.

More than a year since Rangers first tried for the Wigan midfielder, the Hoops finally got their man when they agreed to pay his £20,000-a-week wages this week until January.

Rs beat Wolves and Birmingham to the punch for the former Crystal Palace player, whose transfer to Loftus Road was blocked by Palace supremo Simon Jordan 15 months ago.

Now QPR boss Jim Magilton wants Watson to link up with the likes of Martin Rowlands and Alejandro Faurlin and forge one of the best midfields since the days of Terry Venables and Gerry Francis lorded it at Loftus Road in the old Division One.

But Rs now have players surplus to requirements, and, ironically, the side they beat 1-0 on Saturday are still interested in Mahon.

Scunthorpe made an enquiry for the 32-year-old former Watford midfielder in pre-season, but were turned down in July.

Since then, Mahon has made only one start plus two further appearances off the bench, with Magilton spoilt for choice in the centre of the park.

Club insiders revealed the club could now resurrect a possible loan deal with the Iron, and allow Alberti to leave as well.

There were high hopes for the Italian midfielder after he joined from Chievo Verona in summer, 2008.

But despite scoring both goals in the 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest last February, they're his only strikes in a QPR shirt, and the 21-year-old has yet to add a first-team start to his seven appearances as a sub.

- Rangers are also set to try again in January for Gary Hooper after Scunthorpe rejected a transfer deadline deal for the £1m-rated forward, who was a major force behind the club's promotion to the Championship last season, with the permanent transfer of Mahon, and maybe one other, as part payment for the 21-year-old hotshot.
- QPR sporting director Gianni Paladini admitted: "We made a bid for Hooper, but it was rejected. We were told that he is not for sale."
Ealing Gazette

Scunthorpe Telegraph - Wharton rebuffs claims of bid for Hooper
- IRON chairman Steve Wharton has played down claims Queen's Park Rangers have had a transfer deadline day bid for Gary Hooper rejected.
- He admits he had a chat with Rangers' sporting director Gianni Paladini about the striker after the two teams' Championship clash at Glanford Park last Saturday.
But he denies a fee had been mentioned
- "After we played QPR on Saturday, they told us Hooper was a player that they had admired and asked me if he would be for sale," said the United chairman.
"I told them the answer was 'no'
"If that constitutes a bid for him, then I suppose yes they have made one. But I have had no further conversation with anyone from QPR since then. Scunthorpe Telegraph

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Heaton has a warm feeling again

HOW many footballers would choose a second round Carling Cup tie in a near-deserted stadium over the thrill and buzz of a Champions League final?

Not many, perhaps - but Tom Heaton would, having made his QPR debut against Accrington Stanley in front of 5,000 people last week and turned in a match-winning performance.

It might not have born much resemblance to Heaton's trip to Moscow just over a year ago, when he was part of the Manchester United squad that beat Chelsea to become champions of the continent.

But the young goalkeeper, who is on loan at Loftus Road until the middle of November, would much prefer to face Accrington than turn out for the Red Devils' reserves.

"When you're in a first-team game it's only the result that counts and it means a lot more," Heaton told the Times. "You're playing for the manager, the fans and your livelihood.

"You learn a lot from playing in the reserves at United because they pass the ball and play the right way, but all you're doing is improving yourself and the actual result doesn't matter.

"I was in the squad for the Champions League final in Moscow and that was a fantastic experience, but I'm 23 now. People might say that's young for a goalkeeper, but it comes to a stage where you need to be playing.

"So it was nice to get out on the pitch against Accrington - that's what I came here for and I was quite happy with my performance until the last 10 minutes, when a few things started to creep in.

"We didn't play as well as we're capable of, but once we scored I thought we were much better. And I ended the night holding a bottle of champagne, so I can't complain!

"I had a lot of respect for Radek Cerny before I came to QPR and that's only gone up in the last few weeks - he's a fantastic keeper and a very good guy. But I've come here to try and get into the team and stay there."

Cerny reclaimed the number one spot for last Saturday's league victory at Scunthorpe, but Heaton is determined to push him, especially after being a first-team regular throughout the first half of last season.

Heaton was Cardiff's number one choice until injury cost him his place and Peter Enckelman took over until late in the campaign, when the Bluebirds' defeat at Sheffield Wednesday - coupled with Rangers' loss against Preston - meant they slid out of the top six on the final day.

"Not getting into the play-offs was a massive disappointment," Heaton recalled. "But you learn a lot from experiences like that and hopefully I'll benefit next time I'm in that situation.

"But it was great to be involved with a team pushing for promotion last season and when I came down to QPR I knew this was a team that would be aiming to try and win the league."

Another factor in luring the keeper to Loftus Road was the opportunity to rejoin David Rouse, who coached him during his formative years in United's Academy.

Heaton has been on the books at Old Trafford since he was a schoolboy but, with his contract due to expire next summer, he needs to make an impression at Rangers to have a chance of following in Ben Foster's footsteps.

Foster was loaned out on several occasions to Watford before returning to Old Trafford, where Edwin Van der Sar's wrist injury has given him a chance to stake his claim as United's number one.

"I worked with Rousey for a long time, probably about four years," added Heaton. "He was absolutely pivotal in my development and I was sad to see him leave United.

"Once I knew QPR were interested, I jumped at the chance to work with him again. I want to improve myself, to develop and put in the extra work and I feel he shares the belief that I can do that." Kilburn Times

London Informer - Matt Connolly on Chelsea Game - QPR's Connolly hopes for Chelsea derby
- MATT Connolly is champing at the bit ahead of QPR's Carling Cup clash at Chelsea.
- The former Arsenal defender made his first Championship start of the season in Saturday's win at Scunthorpe, following two League Cup outings against Exeter and Accrington Stanley.
- Connolly played in the win against Aston Villa in the same competition last time, before Rangers eventually bowed out to Manchester United in the fourth round.
- And he admits he's already got one eye on the mouthwatering west London derby against the Blues in three weeks' time.
- He said: "We played at Villa Park and Old Trafford last season, which are massive stadiums, and have world-class players to play against.
- "You want to test yourself at the highest level. It was a great experience, and we want more of the same."
- Rangers were less than convincing as they squeezed past Stanley in round two.
- And Connolly has warned his team-mates they'll have to improve to stand any chance of upsetting Carlo Ancelott's side.
- "The only positive to take from the Accrington game was we got through," he added.
- "It was sloppy and we made it difficult for ourselves."
- QPR's last clash with their rivals was in the FA Cup third round in January 2008, when Lee Camp's own goal gave the Blues bragging rights at Stamford Bridge. Ealing Gazette

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From Yesterday
- Rangers have beaten off stiff competition from a host of Clubs, including two from the Premier League, to clinch the loan signing of Wigan Athletic midfielder Ben Watson.
- The 24 year-old, who has been heavily linked with a move to Loftus Road in the past, has put pen to paper on a deal until December 31st, although the R's do have the option of extending the deal when the January transfer window opens.
- Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, R's gaffer Jim Magilton expressed his pleasure at the news, commenting: "Ben will prove to be a fantastic addition to the squad.
- "He's got a proven track record in this division, as well as the Premier League, and I'm just delighted we've been able to bring him to the Club.
- "He's a box-to-box midfielder, who scores goals and puts his boot in - he's got all the attributes that you need to play in that central midfield role."
- Magilton was also keen to acknowledge the role that Gianni Paladini played in the deal, adding: "Gianni has worked around the clock over the last 48 hours or so to get this done, and I'm indebted to him for that.
- "There were a lot of other big, big Clubs in for him, but Gianni and the Board have pulled out all the stops, so I'm delighted."
- Watson made his Crystal Palace debut at the tender age of just 17 and went on to establish himself as a regular in the heart of the Eagles' midfield.
- He surpassed 150 appearances for the Eagles before his 23rd birthday, and also represented England at Under-21 level.
- A dead ball expert, who is also a specialist from the penalty spot, Watson moved to Wigan Athletic in January 2009 for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.5 million.
- He went on to feature in ten of the Latics' remaining Premier League matches that season, and scored his first league goal in the 2-1 away victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
- A second goal followed against Hull City a few days later, but a change in Manager at the Club over the summer months brought a change in fortunes for the midfielder, who has been restricted to just a solitary Carling Cup appearance to date this term.
- Watson - who will wear squad number 15 - becomes the sixth summer addition to Magilton's squad, following in the footsteps of Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taarabt, Alessandro Pellicori, Tom Heaton and Jay Simpson.
- *To sponsor the R's new loan signing, contact our Sales Team now on 020 8740 2588. QPR

- Ben Watson seals loan move to Queens Park Rangers
- Wigan Athletic can confirm that midfielder Ben Watson has moved to Championship side Queens Park Rangers on loan until January.
- The 24 year-old has failed to feature in any of Latics' Premier League games this season, his only appearance being at Blackpool in the Carling Cup.
- Watson made an immediate impact for Latics following his move from Crystal Palace last season, scoring on his debut in the victory at Sunderland before also scoring on his home debut, in the crucial win over Hull City.
- He made ten Premier League appearances in all last season.
- Martinez said: "I wish Ben all the very best at QPR. I believe Ben can have a big future at our club but he needs to play games and take full advantage of the match practice he will hopefully get in the coming months. We expect him to come back sharp and ready to play in January." Wigan

Ben Watson Talking - QPR Official Site
- R's loan signing Ben Watson believes his new team-mates have all the attributes to be challenging towards the summit of the Championship table this season.
- The Wigan man has penned an initial four month loan at Loftus Road, but Rangers have the option of extending that deal once the January transfer window opens in 2010.
- Speaking exclusively to QPR Player - in an interview which can be seen here later today (Tuesday) - Watson said: "I'm delighted to be here.
- "The quality of the squad here is excellent and I see no reason why we can't be challenging for promotion this season."
- Watson spurned the advances of a number of top Clubs, including two sides from the Premier League, to join the R's and he can't wait to pull on the famous Blue and White hooped shirt for the first time.
- "Everything about the Club convinced me that this was the right move," he said.
-"I spoke with Flavio Briatore and Gianni Paladini, as well as the gaffer, and they all had a big influence on my decision.- "I'm here to play football, win games and improve as a player.
- - "I feel I've got something to prove and I intend to do that with QPR."

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