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Summer-long striker search turns up Brighton loan – Signing
Wednesday, 24th Jul 2019 18:51 by Clive Whittingham

QPR finally have a striker in their squad ahead of the season starting next Saturday – 20-year-old Slovenian Jan Mlakar has signed a season long loan deal from Brighton.


Jan Mlakar is a 20-year-old Slovenian youth international forward from Ljubljana.

The 6ft-tall youngster spent time with Fiorentina in Italy as a junior, making one senior appearance and a further three on loan at Venezia. He returned to his homeland to sign for Maribor in 2018/19 and a good first half of the season with 12 goals saw Premier League side Brighton sign him on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January for the dreaded undisclosed fee. They immediately loaned him back to Maribor for the rest of the season and he finished the campaign with 15 goals in 36 appearances as Maribor won the league title.

He has been capped by Slovenia at every level from U15s through to the U21s and their B team and has now signed a season long loan deal at QPR having been recommended to the R’s by Mark Warburton’s former assistant manager David Weir, who now works as the development manager at Brighton.


“I’m very pleased to be here. I really like what I’ve seen of the place and I know just what an important club QPR are in England. I’m very happy to be here so that I can help the team. I want to play as well as I can and I want to score goals. I spoke with the manager and he told me that he wanted a striker that suited his style of play. We all know that the Championship season starts soon, and I can’t wait to get started here.”, -Jan Mlakar

“Jan is a very talented striker who we’ve been aware of for a while. We’re very excited to have him on board – Jan is a very promising player who has already shown his qualities at international level. Our thanks must go to our friends at Brighton for their help on this one. We’re delighted to have him with us for the season.” -Mark Warburton


We don’t usually roll these pieces out for the loan signings but as loans are obviously going to be a big part of the strategy going forwards, and we’ve got the obligatory grainy YouTube compilation that everybody loves, and it’s an actual genuine striker for ourselves, we thought we’d make an exception. Even though, as you can tell, we know next to nothing about the guy.

Things are tough for Queens Park Rangers at the moment for all the reasons we’ve banged on about all the other times before. We’re not doing it again. It’s too hot. But they’re particularly difficult for us when it comes to strikers.

We cannot afford to buy one, because even a properly shit one at this level will now cost you north of £6m – Cardiff paid £6.8m for Gary Madine, for example, who has punched more people in nightclubs than he’s scored Championship goals. West Brom have just paid £8m for Kenneth Zohore, which means we’d have got at least £5m for Devon White in the current market. Villa paid more than that for Scott Hogan, Jonathan Kodija, and Ross McCormack and didn’t get a proper tune out of any of them. The market has been driven off into a distant playground where we’re not allowed to play.

Even the clubs we frequently admire in these columns, for their scouting and buy-low-sell-high methods, are grappling with this. Millwall, who run on a budget as tight as a mouse’s waistcoat, had to go out and spend £1m to get Tom Bradshaw from Barnsley, and he spent all of last season injured. Preston have tried a £750k punt on Jayden Stockley from Exeter and £400k on Billy Bodin from Bristol Rovers with some limited success. They did, of course, previously pick up Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill and sell for big profits though, so it can be done with the sort of clever couting we seem to have abandoned. Huddersfield, when promoted from this league, did it with two loaned Chelsea forwards among their number.

We cannot afford to pick a decent one up on a free transfer, because apparently now being available on a free transfer gives a player and his agent full licence to ask for absolutely extortionate wages under some twisted “well you’re saving on the transfer fee so you may as well give it to me” logic. The most extreme example of this is Juventus making Aaron Ramsey one of the five richest kings of Europe, but it all filters down. Look at some of the players that are kicking around this summer unattached – that used to be the domain of reserve centre backs at the end of their deals with Scunthorpe United, now you have recent Premier League players, internationals, in their 20s, just kicking their heels in free agency. Daniel Sturridge, Danny Simpson, Gareth Barry…

And we struggle to loan them, because to bring in a Tammy Abraham on loan for a season will now cost you more in loan fees, wages and associated extras than QPR got for selling Les Ferdinand to Newcastle permanently when he was one of the greatest centre forwards in Europe at the time. My oft-quoted example is Sam Gallagher, who Birmingham put together a package in excess of £4m (including all of his £10k a week Southampton wages plus a further £10k a week on top) to borrow for one season and five goals. The ones we can get, as the last dog at the bowl, are either so green they’ve barely even sprouted yet (like today’s addition) or coming to the latter stages of their career and highly likely not to be arsed (like last year’s borrow from the same place). Honest to God, Nahki Wells is just about as perfect a loan striker as we’re ever going to be able to lay our hands on, and even that went awry in the end.

It’s why I think we were a little bit hasty in letting Matt Smith go, when for all his failings his goal record spoke for itself, and why it boils my piss to see people haranguing the club for weeks on end “to sign a striker”. They know we need strikers, they would if they could, but they can’t. There will, we’re assured, by another to go with Mlakar, which is good because asking a 20-year-old in his first full season in England to carry the weight of this team on his shoulders is cruel. But don’t expect it to be anybody startling.

With the surprise departure of Darnell Furlong to West Brom; the seemingly senseless addition of a poor goalkeeper from Colchester to a squad that already boasts five stoppers at a club that is supposed to be skint; the ongoing farcical situation with Massimo Luongo (no bids, no interest, but still no training); the decision to apparently abandon a loan deal for Chelsea’s Dujon Sterling and try to get through a 48-game season with Angel Rangel at right back and Dominic Ball as his cover; the ongoing striker shortage and plenty else besides… I’ve kind of resolved to reserve judgement on a mental, manic, fraught transfer window until it’s over. It looks like a chimp’s tea party at the moment, but let’s see what squad we’re left with when it’s all done and dusted.

And we needed a striker. Any sort of striker. By hook or by crook, begged stolen or borrowed.

But (you knew there would be a but) there are three themes and questions that keep coming back to me with each deal that is done. We’ll go into these more frankly when we inevitably spent what pitiful transfer fee budget we have this summer entirely on one frequently-injured, 30-year-old Alan Judge from Ipswich in the next fortnight but for now I’ll just summarise them here.

1 - Changing your entire starting 11 and manager from one season to the next, inside two months, and being competitive in the Championship from the get go is a very tall order.

2 - If all of these outgoings are being replaced with loans, or older players with no sell-on value, then who are we going to get the big transfer fees we need next summer for?

3 - The David Weir connection at Brighton makes this another Mark Warburton signing. If there was any doubt last summer that we've gone back to 'what manager wants manager gets' that's been dispelled this summer. Where are the director of football and head of recruitment in all of this?

Like I say, more on that when Judge and Cameron sign. You lucky people.

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SteveB added 20:00 - Jul 24
See you in the pub Saturday, I owe you a few.

Phil_i_P_Daddy added 22:46 - Jul 24
I thought we’d got off to a rapid, good start with our transfer business, but it’s starting to fray around the edges...at best.

royinaus added 02:39 - Jul 25
He’s brought in a bunch of ex-players who, if not old, can hardly be deemed one for the future - and the majority of the youth are here on loan.
Strikes me that unless Warburton has deviously put together a team capable of getting promoted, all previous proclamations about building for the future – including to sell them on have flown.
I’m as fickle as any, and if this team does achieve the miracle or even does slightly better than last season I’ll no doubt be declaring him the new Gordon Jago. If it doesn’t, we’ll need a brand new 11 next season.
That, I accept is henceforth our lot and we need to do all of this just to survive. But how can fans relate to new players every season, half of whom we don’t own and will be gone at the end of the season. Aren’t FFP regulations meant to be GOOD for the game……

isawqpratwcity added 05:57 - Jul 25
I suppose Les Ferdinand's wage might cover half of one, or maybe all of one, at the outside, player's wages. He doesn't seem to be earning his keep otherwise. Not that getting rid of LF would be a good thing. I still don't trust Fernandes' football nous for a second.

californiahoop added 07:22 - Jul 25
We have brought in 3 players on loan, only 2 max will be in the starting 11, not 1/2 a team as is being suggested! Barbet has resale value, Ball looks a find potentially? I think Manning is good enough to complete for a CM position with Amos, Masterson looks composed and again potentially has resale value, I don’t think the window has been as bad as some are making out.

A striker with experience either perm or loan and away we go, Jordan Rhodes, Hogan or Hugill fits the bill!
As for Judge, if he is fit, he will be an asset, although I prefer Mackay of Swansea.

Hogbag added 11:47 - Jul 25
Seems to me that we're witnessing a pound shop version of what happened in the Hughes disaster season - we've even started signing un-needed goalkeepers. We all know what happened last time we tried to sign as many new players as you could fit into an old Mini in one season. I see very few reasons for optimism other than if we do go down to League 1 we might finally get the Caterham treatment from Mr Fernandes...which might even be worth a bus top parade in W12 in itself.

tsbains64 added 14:43 - Jul 25
Hope that Warburton has secret plan in place .............

GroveR added 19:21 - Jul 25
All I got from that goals compilation was 4 hours of Africa by Toto running through my head.

"I bless the rains down in Africa..."

Fùck you agent, fùck you very much.

TacticalR added 21:37 - Jul 25
Thanks, you've put down in black and white what many of us fear.

I will also try to reserve judgement, but so far it feels like a mess involving a load of players that nobody's ever heard of.

toboboly added 07:56 - Jul 26
If we get Alan Judge I will sht my face off.

snanker added 10:05 - Jul 27
Ah all this doom and gloom looks well merited ! It IS a chimps tea party. Oh dear, oh my !!

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