Despite missing out on some of his transfer targets, QPR boss Mark Warburton can look back on the January transfer window with some degree of satisfaction.
The Hoops went into the month knowing they’d be without key players Ilias Chair and Seny Dieng due to Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) duty – the latter still absent with Senegal reaching Sunday’s final.
However, the club have not only managed to remain unbeaten during the duo’s absence to sit an impressive fourth in the table, but have also made some astute reinforcements.
The arrival of Scottish international goalkeeper David Marshall from Championship strugglers Derby on a free appears a masterstroke in Dieng’s absence with the 36-year-old yet to concede a goal at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
The first keeper to keep a clean sheet in three of his first four games for QPR since Paddy Kenny, Warburton has even suggested Dieng may have a fight on his hands to reclaim his place as first-choice keeper on his AFCON return.
The second coup of the window came with just hours left, QPR announcing the loan signing of Jeff Hendrick from Newcastle United for the remainder of the season.
With more than enough EFL league experience during his time at Derby, Hendrick’s eye for goal from midfield will offer Warburton another option while hopefully alleviating some of the creative pressure on the likes of young guns Chair and Chris Willock.
The third and final arrival saw highly-rated centre-back Dion Sanderson join on loan from Wolves until the end of the season.
Making his debut in the 4-0 rout over Reading, the 22-year-old joined the Hoops via a similar loan spell at Birmingham City and immediately looks a solid fit at the back
Sanderson’s incoming enabled Jordy de Wijs to complete a loan move to German side Fortuna Dusseldorf for the rest of the campaign with the centre-back having been on the periphery for a while.
There was a general feeling QPR may have wanted to do more business than just the three signings during the window with the club heavily linked to Swansea City’s attacking midfielder Jamie Paterson.
The 30-year-old has been in inspired form for the Swans this season, scoring eight goals and registering four assists but despite multiple bids, the clubs were unable to come to an agreement.
Nevertheless, QPR’s business still looks shrewd in comparison to their promotion rivals AFC Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers who both recruited in numbers and in Bournemouth’s case, at a heavy financial cost.
The Cherries brought in Kieffer Moore from Cardiff for over £3m, Fleetwood’s James Hill for £1m, Siriki Dembele from Peterborough, as well as Premier League duo Todd Cantwell and Nat Phillips on loan deals.
It’s clear there’s an immense financial difference between QPR and some of the teams they’re competing with so whilst the signings are perhaps not as exciting as at other clubs, Warburton and his recruitment team have worked wonders under the circumstances.