By Lee Dover
Mark Hughes and Mr Monopoly – separated at birth?
There is little more than two months left until the Premier League transfer window swings open again, but teams are already beginning to assess what’s going right and where they need to improve.
One man who we always love to watch is QPR boss Mark Hughes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Hughes makes bad signings – it’s just that he makes so many.
Take the current QPR team. Robert Green signed in the summer and had a disastrous start. He’s been replaced by Inter Milan stopper Julio Cesar, who hasn’t fared much better. Jose Bosingwa, Fabio da Silva and Ryan Nelson have also struggled to make a case for the defence for the Welshman.
Former Manchester United whizkid Park Ji-Sung and Junior Hoilett were brought in. Andrew Johnson was signed to add some firepower to the R’s, but his injury curse has struck already and he is facing a long layoff.
While there are experienced Premier League names there – none of them were in QPR colours before the summer.
One risk of spending big and often is that new players will inevitably struggle to blend together and QPR are currently propping up the division as they search for their first win of the season.
It’s not the first time that Mark Hughes’ big-spending habits have raised eyebrows. Just ask any Manchester City fans about their opinions of the Welshman with pound signs in his eyes.
During his 18-month reign on Eastlands, the Sky Blues spent close to £200 million. This could have been so much more if bids for Chelsea defender John Terry, Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o and Brazilian ace Kaka had come to fruition.
The bank manager must have had kittens as this investment resulted in just 36 wins, 25 defeats and 16 draws.
Here are a couple of names who struggled to live up to their huge price tags during Hughes’ reign at Manchester City:
Roque Santa Cruz
Hughes was determined to bring Paraguayan forward to Eastlands during his managing days at Manchester City, so much so that he coughed up £17.5 million for Blackburn Rovers.
The price tag may have been too much for Santa Cruz’ though, as he could not find the same spark at the City of Manchester Stadium as he did when lighting up Ewood Park. In 20 appearances for the blue side of Manchester, the Paraguayan only managed to bag three league goals.
Nowadays, Santa Cruz is trying to recapture his form in Spain, having spent a season on loan at Real Betis last term and now plays for Malaga in La Liga.
Hughes certainly made a statement of intent when he splashed £18 million in July 2008 in order to bring Jo into Manchester City from CSKA Moscow; his first signing for the club.
So how did this investment pay off? Well, the striker made a grand total of 41 appearances in the colours of the Sky Blues. Jo was then loaned out to Everton midway through the 2008/09 campaign, before returning to Goodison Park for a stint the following season and then flying over to Galatasaray as part of another loan spell.
The Brazilian was quickly becoming the proverbial hot potato of English football who no one wanted to touch for too long.
Furthermore, the fact that Jo only popped up in Europa League and Carling Cup games when enjoying stints back at Manchester City highlighted how valued he was in the mind of Roberto Mancini.
QPR owner Tony Fernandes here’s a tip – keep your cheque book away from Hughes this winter.