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QPR wheel in Cannon to fire up de-fence - Signing
Wednesday, 27th Sep 2023 12:16 by Clive Whittingham

USA international Reggie Cannon is joining Queens Park Rangers outside the transfer window as a free agent following his acrimonious split with Boavista in Portugal.


Reggie Cannon is a 25-year-old, five-foot-11, right sided defender born in Chicago. He has 28 full caps and one goal for the United States. He is the grandson of atmospheric scientist, early climate change expert and Nobel Prize winner Dr Warren Washington.

Cannon was part of the academy set up at MLS side FC Dallas as a teenager and then played a year of college football for the prestigious UCLA, the only freshman to play in all 20 matches for the team in the 2016 season. After a year he returned to Dallas to play in the MLS and made his debut in June 2017 against the Tulsa Roughnecks in the US Cup followed by a league debut in September against New York Red Bulls.

He became a regular in 2018 with 34 appearances and a first professional goal against Vancouver in May. He played 29 times and scored twice in 2019 and a four-year professional contract was signed soon after but Dallas was not one of the teams that returned to action during the Covid shutdown.

Cannon also became the target of death threats from fans after taking the knee in protest at racial inequality in the US. A bottle was thrown onto the field and chants during the protest led Cannon to describe the action of the fans as “disgusting” which escalated the anger against him. Dallas prepared an apology statement for his social media channels which he refused to air leading to a split with the club. This Guardian profile piece is worth your time.

Cannon made 30 starts and one sub appearance for Boavista in 2020/21 after signing for a fee reported in the region of €3.5m. That was followed up by 20 starts and one sub outing in 2021/22 and 26 (4) last season. They finished 12th, 11th and ninth across his three seasons in Portugal. He became a free agent this summer after terminating his contract over unpaid wages. The club’s president has denied the claims and vowed court action. Vítor Murta said: “For somebody who said in a very recent interview that they wanted to be captain of Boavista next season, I am very surprised by this news, but it is the player's decision, which he will have to prove in court. Boavista has his salaries up to date and is completely calm about this matter.”

For his national team he was part of the squad that won the Gold Cup in 2021 and Nations League the year before, but with competition in his position from DeAndre Yedlin, Sergiño Dest and Shaq Moore he was not selected in the squad for the 2022 World Cup.

He has signed a four-year contract on a free transfer subject to FIFA, FA, EFL and international approval.


“I have always wanted to play in England, this is an incredible opportunity to show what I can do. QPR is a very historic club and I can’t wait to start my career here. I have always wanted to attack overseas football because I think that is where the best players are, and that is how you find your better game and develop, so I really think this will help me achieve the best that I can be as a footballer. Gareth told me what he thinks my potential is. He knows my strengths and weaknesses, he read me inside and out, and he really gave me confidence with what he said. I love those types of people because I feel they can get the best out of me as a person and more so as a player. I really feel he knows what makes players tick. I have played a bunch of positions across the backline. I love getting forward, I love the ability to defend, I love the ability to do both. Gareth said he wants to use me to get behind the opposition backline but also being that strong one-v-one defender I am and can be. I am strong defensively but I love to get forward and to be on the counter attack, making those blazing runs on the overlap or underlap, I think that is something that is my strength.” -Reggie Cannon

“We have fought off clubs to get him and I believe Reggie will become a big asset for us. He can play on the right side of midfield as a wing-back, he can play as a right-sided centre-back, so he is going to add real competition for places which is what we need. With him being without a club over the summer he is going to need a bit of time to get up to speed but I know he is raring to get going with us. I can’t thank Lee Hoos enough for the work he has done to bring Reggie in. I think we have had one hell of a window.” -Gareth Ainsworth


One of the most impressive elements of the turn around enacted by Gareth Ainsworth and Richard Dobson between the Watford debacle and the victory at Cardiff was the creation of a hybrid system, which changes formation in and out of possession, that gets our players in their best positions and plays to their strengths.

Kenneth Paal is better as a wing back, Osman Kakay has always been more comfortable on the right of a back three rather than a full back in a four, we’ve generally been a lot better playing with three centre backs than two for several years and it helps cover Steve Cook’s lack of pace and Morgan Fox’s shortcomings, Sam Field and Jack Colback providing protection allowing Andre Dozzell to suddenly start hinting that he might fulfil his potential after all further forwards, a chronic lack of pace in the team covered by roles for Smyth and Armstrong, options on both sides of the attack preventing teams doubling and tripling up on Ilias Chair.

This may all sound a bit ‘welll, derrrrrrr’ but look at the tactical disasterclass at Vicarage Road, or indeed the 4-4-2 with Sam Field playing left wing Ainsworth inherited from Neil Critchley. It’s significant progress for our team, and it certainly caught Cardiff and Middlesbrough out prior to the international break – Boro had been the final team to benefit from that dire Critchley set up in the last game of his brief reign.

As ever, though, teams have analysed, watched, and started to pick holes in the system, of which there are many. I’ve found the player ratings even more difficult to do than normal in recent weeks thanks to one or two players in particular. High on that list are Osman Kakay and Paul Smyth who are both combining moments of brilliance, usually going forwards with the ball, with other incidences of rank incompetence, usually when being asked to defence. Boiling their 90 minutes down to an arbitrary mark out of ten is proving tricky. Watching Southampton’s Sam Edozie visit their side half a million times in an afternoon was a long, gruelling watch and the Saints are certainly not our only opponent of late that has targeted the gap to the right of our three centre backs, trying to get in behind Smyth when he’s pressed high and get at Kakay as a potential weak link. Last week Swansea and Birmingham both did similar, with no little success, down the other side between Fox and Paal.

That’s in large part a drawback of the system. We get loads of advantages pushing Paal, and particularly Smyth who’s been excellent in attack, forwards, but it inevitably leaves gaps behind. But it’s also the personnel: Smyth is not a defender, Kakay is good infantry but ideally you wouldn’t be relying on him for 46 games of Championship football, Fox I still don’t think is actually very good. Just as it was no surprise to see what little summer budget we had being spent on coagulant for the centre of the midfield and defence (plus a new goalkeeper) after last season’s horrors, so it can come as no shock that they’ve moved to sign a right sided defender in free agency.

Profile wise Cannon is a much better “what we should be doing” fit than a lot of our other moves this summer. There’s a lot of potential and growth in a 25-year-old who’s already got 28 full caps for a very decent international side, and that’s reflected in the four-year contract he’s been awarded. He’s a player capable of playing several positions, which is huge when you’re trying to hack down the size of your squad and squeeze through with fewer senior players covered mainly by academy and development squad players. He’s also quick, which as we’ve said repeatedly has been a huge problem for us since Bright Osayi-Samuel left the building – teams hate playing against pace, and until Smyth and Armstrong were put into our side we’ve been chronically slow since BOS departed, part of the reason we’re so bloody easy to play against.

There are drawbacks of course. Cannon has played no football since May 27 and had no pre-season having walked out on Boavista over the summer. Like Cook and Colback before him, he’ll presumably take some time to get up to speed – expect to hear a lot about “loading” over the next few weeks. The MLS and Portuguese Primeira Liga are nothing like the Championship schedule and physicality wise, some foreign imports take to it, and some don’t. Cannon looks like the sort of quick, physical, all-action player who might do quite well, but his penchant for a sliding tackle (three red cards in two seasons at Boavista, including two in consecutive games last year) might also bring him to the attention of this division’s sub-standard referees. A four-year contract for somebody who’s never played here may prove risky. And watch out for that line about FA, UEFA and international clearance still being required for the transfer. Cannon walked out on Boavista saying his wages hadn’t been paid, and UEFA agree with him, so it should all be fine, but Boavista don’t (needless to say) and it wouldn’t surprise me if covering our arse on that is the reason a deal we’ve all known about for a fortnight has taken a while to be announced – let’s hope there’s no further complications there.

Overall I think it looks a really promising signing, of the sort other clubs make and I wonder where on earth we’ve been on it. His pedigree is superb and when he moved to Boavista the talk was he was doing that to be in the shop window for a couple of years before a move to the Premier League, Bundesliga or Serie A. Everything you read and see of him it’s difficult to understand exactly what he’s doing here, how we’ve got it over the line and what’s wrong with him. It’s an age and profile that fits our supposed model a lot better than a lot of the stop gap measures we’ve been forced to take this summer. It’s somebody we’ve had on the radar for a while rather than just somebody the manager used to work with and/or knows his agent. I’m always a lot more positive and optimistic about these sorts of deals and I can see why Ainsworth is so keen to hail it, and the “hell of a window” he says we’ve had. I agree with him that, on paper and given the financial restrictions, we look to have done very well. Nevertheless, the team has won two out of eight and sits nineteenth. Gareth says he’s got something going, and that will soon change, but the team lacks the goals and depth to deviate too far from the position we’re in at the moment in my opinion.

We (me included) thought we’d had a terrific window in the summer of 2021 – in the end it was good enough only for eleventh, didn’t produce a single sellable asset, and the financial outlay on it is the reason we’re behind the financial eight ball now. A lot of QPR fans, and certainly Honest Mick, were very excited about the business we did last summer #bealescooking. But it was the very worst excesses of giving a manager everything he wants and then having to swallow the consequences when he leaves. You know if you had a good or a bad transfer window much further down the tracks than this. Let’s learn from the past and save any back slapping, if back slapping is indeed required, until May.

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GroveR added 12:41 - Sep 27
"penchant for a sliding tackle" - superb, I haven't felt that feeling of impending, inevitable doom since Barbet left.

BrianMcCarthy added 12:46 - Sep 27
Very measured, Clive, and some great info. Thanks.

qprninja added 13:17 - Sep 27
Yeah his compilation video is chock full of hail Mary sliding tackles. Red cards incoming!!

QPRSteve added 13:58 - Sep 27
Always loved a great sliding tackle and pine for the days of Dave Webb. It's a shame they are being picked on by the refs so much. A good sliding tackle is a thing of beauty. I used to love the look of terror on the face of an opponent as they saw Webbie bearing down on them.

sexton added 14:57 - Sep 27
Didn't Critichley have Field playing on the right wing, not the left?

Loft1979 added 15:25 - Sep 27
Great Read!


HAYESBOY added 15:30 - Sep 27
Its okay.........Paladini did the paperwork on this one...........

Northernr added 17:22 - Sep 27
And even if he didn't, it'll turn up mysteriously in the nick of time in a desk drawer, drafted by a secretary who has emigrated to South America and cannot be contacted.

Burnleyhoop added 18:51 - Sep 27
Like the look of him. It's another step in the right direction and I suspect the best of this team is yet to come, when everything and everyone has bedded down. Its not a given, but the signs are there. Fingers crossed.


MrSheen added 20:07 - Sep 27
Quite a bit less to the “Battle of Dallas” than there appears. One fan was ejected for throwing a plastic water bottle on the field, which didn’t hit anyone. In his post match interview, Cannon complains of a fan chanting USA! while the players knelt. I don’t doubt there were plenty of threats and insults afterwards but that’s an internet issue, not necessarily anything to do with Dallas.

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