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Shrewd additions down a well-worn path - signings
Sunday, 6th Sep 2015 14:45 by Clive Whittingham

Although the deadline day focus was on the players QPR managed to keep, two low-key additions from Watford could end up being crucial to Rangers’ promotion hopes.


Daniel Tozser, 30, signs for QPR on a free transfer from Italian crisis club Parma following the expiry of his contract. He’s spent the last two seasons on loan at Watford, winning promotion to the Premier League with the Hornets last year.

He originally came through the ranks at Debrecen in his homeland Hungary but made his debut for Ferencvaros and went on to play for AEK Athens in Greece, Genk in Belgium and Genoa and Parma in Italy before his consecutive spells at Watford. He played Champions League football while in Athens, winning Man of the Match in a group game against Anderlecht who subsequently tried to sign him. Eventually Genk stumped up €1.5m for his services and he again featured in the European Cup while there.

He has 29 caps and one goal for Hungary.

Gabriele Angella is a 26-year-old Italian centre half who came through the ranks at Empoli and played for the Italian Under 21s at international level. He was picked up by Udinese in a complicated co-ownership transfer which saw his team mate Diego Fabbrini move alongside him with €3 million, Ricardo Chara and Flavio Lazzari heading the other way. The deal was turned into full ownership for a further payment of €350,000 a year later.

He wound up at Watford through the Pozzo family ownership which has seen players shared around between Udinese, Watford and Grenada in Spain. He scored three goals in his first three games for the Hornets, including a brace in a 6-1 win against Bournemouth. He ended the season with eight, including an outrageous back-healed volley away at Nottingham Forest which won the club’s Goal of the Season award, cementing his reputation as a goalscoring centre half who poses a big threat at set pieces. He also picked up 11 yellow cards and a red.

Last season, as Watford won promotion to the Premier League, he was part of a defence which kept seven clean sheets in the final 14 matches and having recently extended his five year contract at Vicarage Road seemed to have a big future ahead of him in the top flight. Oddly, after a rampant summer of new additions, he has now been loaned to QPR with a view to a permanent transfer.


“Gabriele’s a quality addition for us. We’ve got decent competition now in the back four and Gabriele’s experience, especially at a level where he was promoted with Watford last season, will be a big positive for us. Daniel is a very-talented central midfielder who knows what playing in the Championship is all about. He was with Watford last season and played an integral role in their promotion, scoring some crucial goals, especially from set-pieces. We've got some really-good options in the middle of the park and Daniel's arrival only enhances that. We're delighted to welcome him to the club.” — Chris Ramsey

“We’ve been keen to add another defender to the group for some time, so we’re really pleased to bring Gabriele in. He’s not only a very good defender, but importantly, he’s also a big threat at set-pieces, and the more goalscorers we’ve got around the team, the better. We’re pleased to have him on board and we’re really looking forward to integrating him into the squad. We needed one more midfielder to complement the other players we've got in that position, so we're delighted Daniel has agreed to join us. We've got a strong mix of youth and experience in the midfield area now and Daniel will add to that. He's tidy on the ball, can play, is great from set-pieces, and I'm sure the fans will enjoy watching him play. I'm confident he will be a good addition for us.” — Les Ferdinand

“I am happy to be at this great club with big history. I've played for two years in England and enjoyed every minute. It’s a great place to play. I want to help the club this season and do my best here - this is a new page in the book of my career. I just want to play and improve and show the fans what I can do.” — Gabriele Angella

“I think England is the best place in Europe to play football, so I was really happy that there was a chance to stay here longer. I had a fantastic time at Watford, winning promotion last season. Now I’m looking forward to the future with QPR. I will do my best for the team. I feel at my peak, and physically good. I know Akos Buzsaky was loved at QPR, and all players from Hungary who come here give their all. I also know the team have made a good start in the league. Let’s keep that going. It was a long summer for me — I can’t wait to get back in business.” — Daniel Tozser


QPR have form for making shrewd signings from Watford during a rebuilding process. Faced with six fit professionals and a resident administrator, Ian Holloway went to Vicarage Road and came back with assistant manager Kenny Jackett and chief scout Mel Johnson who were intrinsic in the wonderful four seasons that restored the club’s reputation and Championship status. They quickly moved to bring in Steve Palmer as captain, and goalkeeper Chris Day, and both became pivotal figures in Holloway’s team.

Much of the talk on deadline day surrounded the players QPR managed to keep hold of — Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips chief amongst them. Their presence, alongside Leroy Fer and Sandro if he can actually get himself upright and running around for any period of time, has adjusted the expectation level in Shepherd’s Bush from a season of consolidation to a promotion push. We’ll start to find out on Saturday against Nottingham Forest whether that’s realistic.

But even with those star names still in situ, QPR were still short in a couple of key areas which the signings of Gabriele Angella and Daniel Tozser have sought to address.

The Angella addition is the more straightforward one. Clint Hill is getting on in years, Grant Hall is still a bit green and although he’s started very well since arriving from Spurs he’s had unhappy times at this level before during loan spells, notably with Birmingham City this time a year ago. Basically Rangers were one Nedum Onuoha injury away from having serious problems back then and given that the captain has never managed to make it through an entire QPR season without picking up some form of 6 week to three month muscular tear or pull.

Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand have been after a ball playing centre half to play alongside Onouha all summer and Angella shows the value of sticking to a more sensible limit on transfer spending and wages. Bolton’s US international Tim Ream was the first choice but ended up at Fulham despite QPR leading the race for his signature — previously Rangers would have just kept adding noughts until they got their man. As it turns out, by not doing that, they’ve ended up with a far, far better centre half a lot cheaper than Ream. Angella can be a bit of a maverick — solid, pragmatic Italian defending mixed with spectacular goals scored and ridiculous passes played straight to opposition strikers in dangerous areas — but he’s a very fine player, absolutely key to Watford’s run of form in the second half of last season that carried them all the way to the Premier League. Both Watford fans I’ve spoken to about him have raved.

Tozser, who was on loan at the Hornets last season before being released by parent club Parma this summer, is, on paper, a more intriguing addition. The sheer number of midfielders on QPR’s books has been a source of some mirth on the message board but the fact is there is still only one man at the club who can make the side tick from the deep lying position — Ale Faurlin.

QPR were always likely to start the season slowly after the shambolic organisation of the pre-season, and that’s probably the biggest reason for the lacklustre start at Charlton, and the blowing of a two goal lead at home to Cardiff in the second league game. However a factor other than improved fitness in the turn around since then — three games, three wins, eight goals scored — is the introduction of Faurlin to the midfield. It’s freed Massimo Luongo to play further forward to great effect, and the passes from that two at the base are now moving forwards, incisively, rather than sideways insipidly.

But as we know Ale Faurlin has had three ACL injuries in as many seasons. Never a quick player, he now has the turning circle of an oil tanker and about as much acceleration. Three games in a week is a big ask for him, and we saw against Rotherham when his mistake led to the first goal how badly he can tire in games and the problems it causes Rangers. While centre half, cover at centre forward and perhaps another right back stood out as priorities for additions it was finding somebody who can do that Ale Faurlin role that looked most important to me.

Tozser is a similar player, not the quickest but a quality player who plays the game at his own pace. Really, really shrewd additions.

The Twitter @loftforwords

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gigiisourgod added 15:00 - Sep 6
Thanks Clive. Really interesting read on two players I knew very little about. Feeling more optimistic about the season with every passing day with the full backs being the only area of possible concern. Hopefully Perch and Konchesky can step it up a tad. Scouting at the club seems decent again.

londonscottish added 15:28 - Sep 6
It's a massive relief to see the club finally making sensible signings at reasonable prices.


TacticalR added 16:17 - Sep 6
Thanks, I also didn't know much about either player.

This all sounds good. It would be interesting to know why Watford cleared them out.

At the end of last season I feared that Onuoha and Caulker would be an unconvincing partnership, and we lacked a true replacement for Dunne. Since then Caulker has gone, and it sounds like Gabriele Angella could really fill in the gap.

My only worry is how these players and some of the ex-Premiership players will gel. Perhaps I am worrying about nothing as it seems most of the bad eggs have gone and Austin is not a big-time Charlie.

BazzaInTheLoft added 17:53 - Sep 6
'complicated co-ownership transfer'

Sounds familier....

DesertBoot added 22:39 - Sep 6
Isn't it refreshing we are identifying weak areas in the squad and signing players accordingly. These two signings from Watford are suoerb and come with excellent appraisals from Hornets fans.

CiderwithRsie added 23:24 - Sep 6
QPR were always likely to start the season slowly after the shambolic organisation of the pre-season, and that’s probably the biggest reason for the lacklustre start at Charlton, and the blowing of a two goal lead at home to Cardiff

5 points lost due to avoidable screw up. Spilt milk and all that, but I really hope for better next summer

Silverfoxqpr added 08:05 - Sep 7
"could end up being crucial to Rangers’ promotion hopes" You've done it now!

GloryHunter added 09:01 - Sep 7
. . . back-heeled . . .

pedrosqpr added 10:44 - Sep 7
Just want to add , if we had made the signings this summer last summer would we still be in the premier league.
A Watford fan at work informs me that we have 2 good players ( reliable and solid) . Angela is not too shy with yellow cards but not for dissent or punching in the gonads.


Burnleyhoop added 13:13 - Sep 7
Agree, great signings that compliment all our other new additions. What pleases me most however, is that our last remaining big guns from last year (Austin, Philips et all) have seen what is happening at QPR and thought........hang on, this new set up looks good and I quite fancy staying for another promotion push. No more heading for the hills attitude because of a toxic atmosphere in the dressing room and around the club in general.

I have a really good feeling about how Ferdinand and Ramsey have gone about their work. Top stuff from them both.......keep it up.


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