Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Loic Remy - Oui or Non?

picture courtesy of skysports

After QPR confirmed their participation in next season’s Championship, speculation has been rife about the how many of their current squad will do the same.

Liverpool has been linked with Loic Remy, who is rumoured to have an £8m release clause in his contract if QPR got relegated – a wise move on the part of his agents.  But is Remy what Liverpool need right now?

Remy, 26, started his career with Lyon in 2006/07 season.  After just making one start in Ligue 1 he moved to Lens the following year, scoring his first goal in professional football.  But it was a move to Nice a year later, where he first caught the eye.  11 goals in the league in 2008/09 and 14 the season after, saw him win his first international cap.  A move to Marseille soon beckoned and Remy’s contribution of 19 goals (2010/11) and then 23 goals (2011/12).  While with Marseille he scored his first goal in international football.  This season saw him consigned to the bench at Marseille making more starts in the Europa League than Ligue 1, and so the rumour mill was put into action by his agents suggesting a move to the Premier League.  Unable to break into the starting line-up of a side pushing for the title, it seemed inevitable he would want to move.

QPR and their open chequebook came calling.  According to the player himself, he had to make a decision between QPR and Newcastle. “After looking at the table there seemed no difference between the two”. Which presumably translates to “QPR were offering the higher salary”.

Difficult to judge his time at Loftus Road.  5 goals in 11 appearances is a decent return, and it has also seen him return to the French national team.  His stunning finish against Wigan certainly made me sit up and take notice.  He strikes me as the type of player Arsenal would want, in fact years ago you would’ve expected Wenger to have signed him.  But the Wenger ‘exciting-young-French-talent’ conveyer belt seems to have come to a halt recently, or at least the goods have been plundered by other clubs before the belt reaches its North London destination.

Recently when talking of his move, Remy told

“I left because I wanted a different challenge, one that was tricky right from the start.  I Joined QPR to give my all though, and my goal at the end of the season was not to have any regrets.  I don’t have any regrets about leaving and I’m happy here in England.  I’m playing in a league where I’ve always wanted to play, and I don’t regret it”

We asked what he thought of the Premier League, he explained

“[The Premier League] is the place for me, in every way.  You get less time to read the game in this league.  There’s more pressure and more contact, though there is more space too.  It’s great for a player like me.  They play deep here and I like that.  It feels like the perfect league for me.”

For a player who is so impressed with the Premier League it would seem unlikely he will want to compete in the Championship next season.  The challenge at QPR was keeping hold of their Premier League status, rather than finding a place in the team, so as they ultimately failed we’re not sure how disappointed he is.  Having left both Marseille and Lyon for clubs in lower positions, he is clearly not chasing titles.  Having tasted Champions League football with Marseille in 2010/11 and 2011/12, scoring 4 times, you would’ve expected him to want to be involved again.

Does he struggle at a bigger club?  Is he more suited to a club where he is top dog, rather than a squad player? 

What is certain is that if he was to move to Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, he is unlikely to be first choice in the starting eleven. 

If he was to go to Liverpool, the thought of him linking up with Suarez is exciting as both like to attack from deep.  I could see him and Sturridge rotating as partners to Suarez.  Sturridge has already shown he may struggle to play a full season and has been very effective as an ‘impact’ substitute.  Would Remy relish a role like that?  Of course, Sturridge may feel his performance against Newcastle at the weekend warrants a regular start.

Remy was 26 in January, so he should peak over the next 3-4 years.  France hosts the European Championships in 2016, is Remy looking for that to be his stage?  If so, you would’ve thought he’d want to be playing Champions League.  But having decided to leave a club heading for the competition next season, for a club desperate to stay in the top division, you could question his ambition.

It is rumoured Remy is on £80,000pw at Rangers and so is he prepared to take a pay cut?  Is it good business for Liverpool to be paying £8m for a player who may want wages of £80,000pw?  Especially if he can’t be guaranteed a starting place?

So where next for Remy?

Liverpool weren’t keen to spend £80,000pw on Sigurdsson so it would seem unlikely they’ll spend that sort of money on Remy.  Arsenal could do with someone of Remy’s ability.  He is younger than Podolski and could link up well with a player such as Cazorla.  Tottenham too, could do with a player like him.  Adebayor has been poor this season and Defoe still struggles to convince successive managers that he can carry the teams hopes on his shoulders.  Remy is younger than both of them and Spurs may need some goals from somewhere if Bale goes in the summer.  They’ve shown they’re prepared to spend big wages for players they want, although if they miss out on Champions League football that might become more of a strain than they’re prepared to accept.

Personally, I think he would add something to Liverpool’s squad.  More so than Tom Ince, who has been constantly linked with a return to Anfield.  I also think he would add more than Borini does.  Borini is at his 5th club already, even though he is only 22, and you do feel sorry for the lad who must be wishing he could put down some roots somewhere.  But that’s a whole string of managers/coaches who haven’t rated him enough to believe in him long term.

Liverpool has a couple of exciting young strikers who will come through to the first team in a season or two, such as Adam Morgan and Jordan Ibe, and of course Raheem Sterling will be a stronger and more experienced proposition next season.

Remy’s love for English football so soon is to be admired as many foreign players take at least a season to adjust.  He may yet end up at somewhere like Everton or Fulham.

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