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Sunday, January 15, 2012

QPR Report Sunday: TEAMS... QPR CEO Philip Beard on QPR Ambitions: "Multi-Use" New Stadium where "Main Tenants are QPR"...Mark Hughes and His Coaches

-- Next Newcastle: Stats/Past Results/Past Joint Players

Good Luck From Neil Warnock:
QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes Tweets "

Just had a wonderful call from Neil Warnock to wish us luck today. Top man and great to have the call before a tough game.


QPR - Kenny, Hill, Derry, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Mackie, Buzsaky, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand - Subs: Cerny, Orr, Hall, Campbell, Smith, Ephraim, Macheda
NEWCASTLE - Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor, Danny Guthrie, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi, Leon Best Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Dan Gosling, Mehdi Abeid, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa

- For comprehensive and latest QPR news-related pieces and discussion, visit the football-only, somewhat-different QPR Report Messageboard. All QPR Perspectives genuinely welcomed! Or comment on any of the articles posted below - QPR REPORT Available on TWITTER!

- Year Flashback: Warnock on Ledesma Trialing at QPR

- Two Years Ago: Paul Hart replaced by Mick Harford - after one month and five games in charge!

- Thirty-Eight Years ago! QPR Knock Chelsea out of the FA Cup in a Midweek Lunchtime Replay with Stan Bowles Winner. (Lunchtime, because no power during the "Three Day Week" of strikes/power cuts)

- "Where Are They Now...?" - News re Ex-QPRs Mike Flanagan...Joe Oaster...Simon Walton

- A 2007 Interview with Mark Hughes: Why "Sparky"

- Antonio German Trialing at Scunthorpe

- Recent QPR Transfer Gossip: Player-by-Player

- Ex-QPR Youth Player Takes over as Preston Manager

- 11 Year Old QPR Trainee Gets Award/Funding Help

- Curle Applying for Bristol Rovers Job

- QPR Youth's Next Round Opponents will be known next week when Newcastle play Watford (January 19 at Newcastle)

QPR's Stadium Plans:

"...[QPR CEO Philip] Beard said that the plans to move to a new training ground within 12 months and to a new stadium within four years are vital to the club's development. "Staying at Loftus Road or the Harlington training ground is not going to get us where we want to go and I don't think it would have got us Mark Hughes either. We have owners who are ambitious but they are realistic as well. What we are trying to do is grow and develop the squad."
The proposed move to a new training ground is taking shape, he said. "We have identified a site and have plans in place. We are looking at two or three options for a new stadium and are now looking at options to fund it and making the numbers work.
"It won't be simply a football stadium. Our intention is to build a multi-use stadium where the main tenants are QPR. It will be great for the area and that's what the current climate needs."

Guardian/Jamie Jackson

Mark Hughes eyes the chance to become a 'great manager' at QPR
• Welshman excited ahead of first match in charge
• Chief executive sets sights on Premier League title

Mark Hughes takes charge of his first game as Queens Park Rangers manager at Newcastle United on Sunday with the Welshman stating he wants to become a "great manager". His ambition is matched by Philip Beard, the chief executive, who stated that winning the Premier League is the west London club's "ultimate goal", and that in Hughes QPR have made the first important step towards that aim.

Hughes saved Blackburn Rovers from relegation, then finished in seventh with them in 2008 before joining Manchester City and being sacked in December 2009 when they were sixth. Last season he left Fulham after finishing eighth.

Hughes said: "People view me now as a competent Premier League manager and at the end of my tenure here when ever that might be I would like to think they will think of me as a great Premier League manager."

The Welshman outlined how he will attempt to arrest a slide in which QPR have taken only one point from the last 24. "It's about the environment that I create that enable teams to prosper," he said. "In the past when I have [arrived at a club] players have maybe had to raise their game somewhat and perhaps that's the case here. I need to be organised and consistent. That's what players need – they need structure. My first year at Blackburn was probably the best we did and that will sustain us here."

Of the challenge posed by Newcastle, who are 10 places above QPR, he said: "They're playing very well at the moment and it won't be easy. It is a tough one to start with. But we haven't won enough home games. The stadium here creates a great atmosphere and there's no reason why we can't drive the season on from here. A little bit of confidence needs to be lifted to change things quickly and we're looking to create."

Asked if the owners –Tony Fernandes, the majority shareholder, and Lakshmi Mittal, the world's third richest man – have told Hughes winning the title is an ambition, he said: "Not in those terms. If we're all still here in the next five, six, 10 years, then we can have that conversation. You have to have ambition."

Beard, however, set out the club's ambition clearly. "Winning the championship has to be the ultimate goal," he said. "I joined QPR because of what Tony Fernandes and the Mittal family are trying to do here and, if I can help by building a new training ground and building a new stadium, [that would be great]. But what you have to get right is what happens on the pitch and over the last few days we have brought in a man with a team behind him who can help develop the club and certainly get us to stay in the Premier League this season and then grow.

"It's crazy to speculate how long it will take to get to the stage where we are competing for the title and Champions League places but, if you don't have those goals, there's not much point in doing this."

Beard said that the plans to move to a new training ground within 12 months and to a new stadium within four years are vital to the club's development. "Staying at Loftus Road or the Harlington training ground is not going to get us where we want to go and I don't think it would have got us Mark Hughes either. We have owners who are ambitious but they are realistic as well. What we are trying to do is grow and develop the squad."

The proposed move to a new training ground is taking shape, he said. "We have identified a site and have plans in place. We are looking at two or three options for a new stadium and are now looking at options to fund it and making the numbers work.

"It won't be simply a football stadium. Our intention is to build a multi-use stadium where the main tenants are QPR. It will be great for the area and that's what the current climate needs."

INDEPENDENT/Steve Tongue - High hopes for Hoops as Beard faces future

The man who saved the O2 now plans to make west London's unfashionable club into a money-spinner with Mark Hughes at helm

For a man who helped transform the Millennium Dome from a supposed white elephant into one of Europe's foremost concert venues, turning Queens Park Rangers into a force in English football should be a doddle. Philip Beard does not put it quite like that, of course, for even as a comparative newcomer to the unpredictable world of football – having joined QPR as chief executive after Tony Fernandes's takeover in August – he appreciates that those who sit in the directors' box are at the mercy of what goes on inside the rectangle of white lines in front of them.

Unless board members are inclined, like a previous Rangers owner, to send messages to the touchline demanding substitutions or tactical changes, all they can do is hire and fire the right people, and provide the financial backing and best possible working conditions.

To that end, Fernandes and his team deemed it necessary a week ago to dispense with the services of Neil Warnock, who had achieved the Premier League status that made the club such an attractive acquisition in the first place, and install Mark Hughes, a man considered to have a better chance of maintaining and building on it.

The building will be literal as well as metaphorical, involving a new training ground plus academy and, as this newspaper revealed when Fernandes arrived, a new stadium. "I don't think it would have got us Mark Hughes as manager," Beard says, "if the plan we'd laid out to him was that for the next 10 years he'd be training at Harlington or playing his team at Loftus Road."

The current training ground, under the Heathrow flight path, is the ramshackle place used by Chelsea when Hughes joined them as a player more than 15 years ago, when London University students would arrive after lunch to reclaim the dressing-rooms.

Rangers have identified a site for a replacement, which will prove easier to construct and finance than a new Loftus Road. The key to both, Beard says, is what businessmen apparently call "sweating the asset", or as he puts it: "Our plan is to build a multi-use stadium where the main tenant is Queens Park Rangers but we'll look to monetise other aspects of the stadium because that's what the current climate needs for investors to become part of the project. It's about funding it, making the numbers work. But this area is fantastic, the catchment area is great, the transport links are great.

"Coming from the O2, if we can build a venue that will be more than the home of QPR – while that will be the main part – I think we can do things that will be exciting for the area. And if and when we build a new stadium we will need to grow the fanbase significantly, so my job off the pitch is to start thinking about how we grow the brand that is QPR not just domestically but internationally."

The new regime clearly cannot be faulted for lack of either ambition or cash. As well as Fernandes, the owner of AirAsia and the Team Lotus/Caterham Formula One team, they are backed by the Mittals, whose pater familias Lakshmi is the world's fifth or sixth richest man, depending on who is doing the sums.

Yet the need to "grow the fanbase" acknowledges that Rangers have never been regarded as a big club in their 126-year history. The longest period they have ever enjoyed in the top flight was from 1983 to 1996; last season's average attendance in a Championship-winning season was under 16,000; and 25 years ago there were plans to merge with neighbouring Fulham.

Fulham, where to Hughes's frustration last summer a rich owner decided to put a cap on spending, are one of the clubs Beard mentions as a benchmark to aim at in terms of having got into the Premier League and stayed there. Stoke are another, though a few seasons ago he might have named Charlton or Southampton.

Clearly a man with a plan, he lays out the following path for the short, medium and long term: "We want to stay in the Premier League and stabilise in the short term. The short to medium term [aim] is to build a new training ground and encourage and attract players to come. The medium to long is to build a new stadium. It's crazy to speculate on how long it would take to get to the stage where you're competing for a Champions League place or the title, but if you don't have those dreams and goals, there's not much point in doing this."

Hasten slowly may be a sensible policy, or as Hughes put it, "don't run before you can walk". Beard, having helped secure the Olympics for London and built a future for the doomed Dome, prefers the line with which he signs off his programme notes: "Dare to dream."

Newcastle United v Queens Park Rangers is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 1.30pm

The Star/Tony Stenson - MARK'S & SPENDERS

MARK HUGHES is the man with the Midas touch.

Not many hit the jackpot twice but Queens Park Rangers’ new manager will soon be wallowing in wonga again.

After spending a whopping ­£216million during 18 months as City boss, it is music to Hughes’ ears to have been told by the Hoops’ equally wealthy new owners ‘to spend as much as it needs’ to take the club to a new level.

Vice-chairman Amit Bhatia, son-in-law of co-owner Lakshmi Mittal, third-richest man in the football, said: “We believe in the long-term future of this club. The potential here is ­unlimited and we’re pushing for exciting days.

“The club has enough money – as much as it needs. We want players for the future but if we want household names we will do it. We have a well thought-out plan. We are prepared.”

His views were echoed by chief executive Philip Beard who told the Daily Star Sunday: “I joined QPR because of what Tony Fernandes and the Mittal family are trying to do here.

“And if I can help by building a new training ground and ­building a new stadium then all to the good.

“But what you have to get right is what happens on the pitch and over the last few days we have brought in a man with a team behind him who can help develop the club and certainly get us to stay in the Premier League this season and then grow.

“It’s crazy to speculate how long it will take to get to the stage where we are competing for the ­title and Champions League ­places.

“But if you don’t have those goals there’s not much point in doing this. We want to stay in the Premier League and we want to provide facilities that will also attract top-quality players. Loftus Road only has a ­capacity of 16,000, so any money must come from the board or owners.

And Beard added: “We have owners who are ambitious but they are realistic as well. What we are trying to do is grow and develop the squad.

“It is going to be very difficult to make major changes in January but if we can bring one or two players in then we will do that.

“And going forward we will look at who Mark wants to bring in. We will look at it again in August.”

And with a nod to the disciplined structure behind the club’s boardroom doors, Beard said: “It isn’t just one person who will make this work.

“It is Tony Fernandes and his partners and Amit Bhatia and the Mittal family.

“My job is to make sure we all work together so we get relationships right. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think the aspirations of the owners weren’t strong for the long term. They see projects through.

“Very rich people are successful in making money, investing it and holding on to it. But we want to make sure that they can invest here for all the right reasons.”

Hughes, fully aware he is the club’s 13th manager in the last six years, admits it does help being backed by the world’s third-richest man.

He said: “Yeah. It gives us the ­opportunity. You would hope that if we keep building steadily rather than running before we can walk it gives us a real ­opportunity to do it in a considered and ­proper way.

“I have not been told by the backers, ‘We want the ­title’, not in those terms, no. If we’re all still here in the next five, six, ten years then we can have that conversation – but not at this stage.

“You have to have ambition. It will be a long road and there will be a few bumps along the way but we are prepared for that. It is really exciting and we have just got to see it through.” The Star

Mark Hughes is back on track after big-desk hubris at Craven Cottage
The former Fulham manager adjusts his ambitions as he takes charge of Premier League strugglers Queens Park Rangers

The first thing Mark Hughes did when he became manager of Fulham was to ask for a bigger desk. Hughes wasn't happy with his new surroundings. The office, he said, was too small. A new computer was ordered and a big leather chair. Then builders were brought in to knock down the adjoining wall and extend an office that had done just fine for Roy Hodgson, Lawrie Sanchez, Chris Coleman and everyone before.

This is what can happen when a man spends time among the conifers and greenery of Manchester City's training ground then downgrades to a club where the paint might be peeling in a few corners and they drink their tea from a flask rather than fine china. Hughes never really felt Fulham were distinguished enough for him and it always seemed a temporary measure given that he has an adviser, Kia Joorabchian, with an A to Z of chief executives on speed-dial.

Except they stopped returning his calls. Joorabchian said his client wanted to manage a club more in keeping with his playing career at Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. "He really wants to be right up there, competing for titles and the Champions League positions." Instead, Hughes has spent six months out of the game before rolling up at Queens Park Rangers, third from bottom of the Premier League, with a stadium that holds fewer than Notts County's, Port Vale's or Bradford City's.

QPR matter these days. This is an ambitious time at Loftus Road and they deserve better than to be patronised, but there are still 49 larger club grounds in England and, however much it is dressed up, it is going to be difficult to see Hughes on the touchline for his first match and not believe this is a man whose ambitions have been undermined by his own mistakes. Hughes was talked about as a credible successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United at one stage, but his name has been rubbed off the betting-shop chalkboards now, probably for good.

This is not to denigrate a man who took Fulham to eighth place in the Premier League, brought calm and pride where there is now fear and loathing at Blackburn Rovers and was doing a steady job at Manchester City before his very public sacking. Garry Cook, the former Nike man and now deposed City chief executive, had described Hughes as football's equivalent of Michael Jordan, but had been making clandestine approaches to other managers for six months. So Hughes is probably entitled to his grievance. Yet what has happened since then would make it difficult for anybody to argue the decision-makers in Abu Dhabi got it wrong, even if there were better ways of going about it.

At Fulham, Hughes was so obsessed with presentation and order that the kit men had to line up the ice buckets with perfect symmetry and make sure all of the drinks bottles had their labels showing at the correct angle. At City, he made the security guy take down the Ricky Hatton posters in his cabin because he thought it gave the wrong impression.

Yet this level of detail has not always been so apparent. Hughes turned a blind eye when Robinho turned up for trips abroad in jeans and trainers when he should have been wearing a club suit. Not the most important thing, perhaps, but sometimes it is the little details that demonstrate the differences between a manager who is good, and sometimes very good, but still a notch or two below what is needed for the highest level. Over lunch a few weeks back, Roberto Mancini, Hughes's replacement, smiled knowingly as he recalled the day he brought on Robinho as a substitute, then substituted him. The Italian never indulged Robinho in the way Hughes did, and was better for it.

The alliance with Joorabchian is another puzzling factor given that you would not automatically put the two men together. Hughes clearly believes the good outweighs the bad, but, put bluntly, Aston Villa did not want to do business with them when everyone assumed that was the next logical move last summer – and, in terms of perception and image, Joorabchian has become so synonymous with Carlos Tevez and controversy it does affect the Hughes brand.

Joorabchian is clearly a man with connections, but Tevez is now into his third month of striking at City, where they make no secret of the fact they think the player's adviser is partly to blame. Mancini's opinion of the Tevez-Joorabchian double act is not so much low as subterranean and recalls that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm when Richard, stricken in hospital, discovers Larry and Jeff have been flipping a coin and playing eenie-meenie-miney-mo to try to get out of being his kidney donor.

The difference, of course, is that Larry admitted it was wrong. Tevez has never said sorry for anything and, so far, the only person in football who has been willing to defend him is the man, funnily enough, who shares Joorabchian as their go-to guy. Which is a shame because, when you get past all the fluff and politics, Hughes has earned the right to another go. The Observer

MIRROR/Gerry Cox - Hughes eyes neighbours Chelsea ahead of Rangers revolution

QPR believe Mark Hughes is the key to taking on their ‘noisy neighbours’ Chelsea and even overtaking Roman Abramovich’s side as the kings of west London.

Hughes takes his new side to Newcastle today for his first game since taking over from Neil Warnock last week.

And the Welshman can see similarities with the state Chelsea were in when he joined them as a striker from Manchester United in 1995.

Back then, before Abramovich arrived, the Blues were a mid-table side using the same ramshackle Imperial College training ground near Heathrow that Rangers use now.

They had not won a trophy for almost 25 years, had dipped in and out of the old second division and were in dire need of investment both on and off the pitch.

By the time Hughes left, Chelsea were on their way to an era of huge success, and, once Abramovich arrived three years later, the Blues went on to become one of the world’s wealthiest clubs.

Hughes said: “Yes, I can see the parallels. I wouldn’t say we’re trying to emulate that, but you must have ambition.”

But even Abramovich’s riches cannot match those of Lakshmi Mittal, Britain’s wealthiest man, and co-owner of QPR with Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes.

Hughes added: “If we do well and keep building steadily, I think there is a real opportunity here – and expectations are high.” Mirror

TELEGRAPH/Duncan White - Mark Hughes will need to make in immediate impac to keep QPR in the top flight
It is hardly the easiest venue for a comeback. Mark Hughes returns to football this afternoon with Queens Park Rangers facing the in-form Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena.

Hughes will know a lot more about the scale of the job ahead of him by the time the game is over. There is going to be some hard work at Rangers’ Harlington training ground between now and the end of the season if they are to avoid slipping back into the Championship. Hughes is confident he is the man to help them avoid relegation.
“The way I like things done, the way my team’s play has helped me have an impact in the past,” Hughes said. “You have to be organised and consistent in your message and your discipline.
"It’s about creating an environment for a team to prosper. I think players want structure to understand what we are doing is geared towards winning.
“My values and standards are quite high. I find that when I have gone into places in the past people have need to raise their game somewhat. Maybe that’s the case here. The benefit of that is that you can make an immediate impact.”
How will he make that impact? Here we break down the areas in which Hughes will be seeking to make an impression at Loftus Road.

You do not just appoint Hughes as manager, you appoint his team, too. Mark Bowen is his closest confidant, a friend he has known since they were 13, and now his assistant.
Together they will plot a strategy for getting QPR up the table. In his approach to coaching, Hughes has obviously drawn a lot from Sir Alex Ferguson.
He takes the role of a supervisor, allowing his trusted coach, Eddie Niedzwiecki, to take most of the sessions. The whole management team meets every morning and plot what they need to do that day.
“To put it simply, Eddie is the best I have seen at taking a training session,” said Bowen. “Both Mark and I are Pro licensed coaches but Eddie is the one who implements our ideas.” Kevin Hitchcock looks after the goalkeepers.
The priority for Hughes at Rangers will be to get the players up to his standards in terms of fitness.
“At Blackburn we set ourselves the challenge of becoming the fittest team in the country and I think we achieved that,” Bowen said. Jason Roberts, who played for Hughes at Blackburn, thinks the QPR players will be feeling the benefit of that as they go into the run-in.
“Some of them might have never trained at such a high intensity,” said Roberts. “They make big demands of you. The good news is that within three or four weeks they will have never felt as fit.”

In terms of formation, Hughes is relatively conservative. He tends to favour a 4-4-2, played with high intensity and pressing. Setting up this way can sometimes make it difficult to accommodate players who like to operate between the traditional lines – Adel Taraabt is the obvious example at QPR – but then for Hughes the emphasis is always on the team.
“So much of the tactics comes from Mark drawing on his well of experience and using his instincts,” Bowen said. “He then marries that with all the data we have assembled and prepares the players.”
This will be another challenge for Hughes at Harlington. At Fulham, City and Blackburn, he would use video footage put together with his data analysis department to show weaknesses in the opposition or areas that his own team could improve. In this he was very rigorous and impressed players with his command of the detail.
At QPR he needs to appoint an opposition scout and get the structure in place to do this.
A goal difference of minus 16 tells you that he has problems to resolve at both ends of the pitch.
Tightening the defence will be the first challenge but this is also a side scoring less than a goal a game — he will need to get the team playing with width as he did at Blackburn and Fulham to help generate chances.

This will be one of the most challenging areas for Hughes. There is effectively no scouting network at QPR and the squad is hugely bloated.
Until he gets scouts in he will have to rely on his own contacts and the help of his well-connected adviser Kia Joorabchian. While Tony Fernandes, the owner, has guaranteed there will be money available, what Hughes does in January will only be a short-term measure.
He wants to improve the defence and is looking to sign defenders Alex and Nedum Onuoha. In the summer, though, there will be as much emphasis on selling as buying: they have 36 players in the first team squad with a further four out on loan.
At Blackburn, Hughes established a reputation for refreshing the careers of players who had fallen into a trough, players like Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz, and also for finding bargains like Ryan Nelsen (free) and Chris Samba (£400,000).
At Manchester City he was given massive financial backing and while some of his signings worked out very well (Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany) there were some that clearly did not meet expectations (Jo, Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge).
What recurs at every club he has managed is that players who buy into Hughes’s methods become loyal to him and want to work with him again. It would not be a surprise to see Hughes sign players who are familiar with his methods.

Man management

With Wales Hughes faced the challenge of changing from team-mate to manager but even in those formative years, John Hartson recalls him handling it calmly.
“He went from the back seat of the coach with myself, Chris Coleman, Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs, to the seat behind the driver,” Hartson said.
“You hardly noticed. He did it in his own inimitable way, without any real fuss. Still, you knew he was the boss. He had been a ferocious player, a man who would kick his granny to win a tackle.
"As a manager, he was every bit as determined, although quietly spoken, very thorough and quite calm much of the time. But if it needed saying, he would say it.”
Hughes has been criticised, even by himself, for his communication skills but these have improved as he has taken different jobs.
Roberts said that at Blackburn “dialogue with a player isn’t one of his main lookouts,” but with the more gregarious Bowen liaising between him and the players, Hughes can use the distance to his advantage.
At QPR, a club hardly short on egos, he will face specific challenges. He has an outspoken captain in Joey Barton, an erratic talent in Adel Taraabt and other recent signings whose salaries are wildly divergent from some of those who got the club promoted last season. He will need them all to pull in the same direction.

It is in his curiosity about the cutting edge in coaching, management and sports science that Hughes is highly impressive.
“He mirrors Sir Alex in that respect,” said Bowen. “He is always open to new opinions, fresh ideas. He will read papers on the latest ideas and then source the best information on it.”
One example is how he introduced Morten Gamst Pedersen to neuro-linguistic programming to help him with his set-pieces.
NLP is apparently used by Jonny Wilkinson (in his kicking) and Tiger Woods and is a technique of repeated visualisation. Pedersen saw massive improvement in his accuracy because of it.
A new training ground will provide the facilities Hughes, needs but in the mean time QPR’s players can expect increased use of ProZone data, to have their training tracked by GPS devices (sewn into vests they wear under their shirts) and to be subject to diet and dehydration tests borrowed from Bayern Munich.
“You are getting feedback on your performance every day,” Roberts said.
Hughes must have been doing something right because United poached his leading sports scientist and ProZone analyst off him when he was in charge at Blackburn.
“It’s all about looking for that tiny edge over your opponent,” Bowen said. “Trying to improve a player by that one per cent.”



Joey Barton is set to be one of the first casualties in Mark Hughes’ QPR revolution.

Bad boy Joey, 29, is ­suspended and will miss today’s trip to Newcastle.

But highly placed ­Rangers sources believe Barton is unlikely to figure in ­Hughes’ ­long-term plans.

Hughes took over last week, following the sacking of Neil Warnock, and vowed to grab the chance to build a club of substance.

Warnock was the boss who recruited controversial Barton on a free transfer last August and made him Rangers’ captain.

Another high-profile star at risk is Shaun Wright-Phillips, who has failed to make any real impact since a summer move from Manchester City. Hughes accepts that he has a major rebuilding job at the club and is looking to off-load a number of players.

But, with only two weeks of the transfer window ­remaining, the time may not be right for sweeping changes at the club.

Hughes is targeting at least six new signings.

Rangers agreed a fee ­yesterday to sign centre-back Alex from Chelsea.

The Loftus Road ­hierarchy will now have to agree ­personal terms with the Brazilian defender.

Hughes is also hoping to recruit rising young Brazil star Henrique – work ­permit permitting – on an 18-month loan deal from Sao Paulo with an option to buy him for around ­£5million. Mirror

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