Queens Park Rangers may have succeeded in securing promotion back to the Premier League last season, but there was still an underwhelming air that engulfed the Loftus Road-based outfit.
Harry Redknapp's team were expected to romp to the Championship title, but in truth, they never really looked like mounting a serious challenge to eventual champions Leicester City and Burnley, who finished second. Instead, the R's had to rely on the lottery of the playoffs.
The last time that QPR were in the top flight, they were ridiculed for signing below-average players on high wages. This time around, it's believed that owner Tony Fernandes has ordered Redknapp to alter his transfer policy. With that in mind, Sports Mole has picked out three players that we believe would help the club retain their status.
1. Steven Caulker, Cardiff City
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On numerous occasions last term, Redknapp was full of praise for his centre-back pairing of Richard Dunne and Clint Hill. While both may well be comfortable up against Championship strikers, it would be extremely risky of Redknapp to keep his faith in that duo in the Premier League.
Now well into their 30s, neither is blessed with great pace and they are likely to be massively exposed by the superior speed of movement that lies ahead. Redknapp has gambled on Rio Ferdinand, who while being a similar age to Dunne and Hill, was one of Europe's best defenders in his pomp. It's a risk that may end up paying off.
Even so, the QPR rearguard is one that is still in major need of youth and pace. A move for Caulker is believed to be close to completion and it's one that the club need to get over the line. Aged 22 and with plenty of speed, the one-capped England international could provide the perfect foil to Ferdinand. What's more, playing alongside a footballer of Ferdinand's experience can only benefit Caulker.
2. James Milner, Manchester City
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On the face of it, coaxing a player from the champions to a newly-promoted side would appear to be an arduous task. Yet, Milner is known to be open to the prospect of departing Man City in a bid to secure regular football elsewhere, having started numerous matches last term as a substitute.
The versatile midfielder may have higher aspirations than QPR, but he's a player that is worth pursuing from the West London club's point of view. The 28-year-old has unrivaled stamina and in fairness to him he is underrated in possession of the ball. He's capable of picking out a pass, as well as weighing in with the odd goal.
Milner would certainly add plenty of quality to a QPR central midfield position that is lacking in real Premier League experience. Only Joey Barton has spent numerous campaigns in the top flight, while the likes of Karl Henry and Esteban Granero have had fleeting outings.
3. Darren Bent, Aston Villa
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Goals are what will determine whether or not QPR are to stay in the Premier League beyond the one season. In Charlie Austin they have a proven scorer of goals in the Championship, but the 25-year-old is currently untested against the country's best defences.
Aside from Austin, the only other strikers on the club's books are Bobby Zamora and Loic Remy, who is expected to have departed before the transfer window closes at the end of August. As such, Redknapp will need to recruit at least one, but ideally two, strikers.
Somebody that has always scored goals in the Premier League is Bent, which makes his recent exclusion from the Villa starting lineup all the more confusing. He was farmed out to Fulham on loan last season, but has since returned to his parent club. Providing that he is played on a regular basis, there is every chance that Bent can still contribute a double-figure return, which could prove to be priceless for a team like QPR. At the age of 30, he should be in his peak years as a centre-forward.