It was a surprise to most to hear the usually reliable Sky Sources report that Christopher Samba is set to return to Anzhi for £12 million. Given his level of performance last season and the size of his pay packet, QPR look to have dodged the financial equivalent of a missile.
When chairman Tony Fernandes responded to Harry Redknapp's desperate pleas for new additions by shelling out £12.5 million for the Congolese defender, their manager was predictably delighted. "This is an unbelievable signing," said Redknapp. "Chris is just what we need. He's a monster," Redknapp said. "Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper centre-half." 'Arry didn't mention the potentially disastrous consequences of having a 29-year-old on a four and a half-year contract worth £100,000 per week in the Championship.
Anzhi Makhachkala director German Tkachenko said what everyone was thinking to the Russian news site www.sports.ru, "At QPR he will earn almost as much as he did at Anzhi. In my view QPR have lost their minds." Samba was undoubtedly overpriced but at Blackburn he had proved to be one of the Primer League's better defenders so at least their porous defence should have been improved. In fact the opposite was the case as Samba, who later admitted he wasn't fully fit, formed a calamitous central defensive partnership with Clint Hill. The nadir came at Craven Cottage where Samba played like a poor man's Titus Bramble as you can see in the first couple of minutes of this slightly slow to load Russian video.
The ineptitude of the QPR defence after the arrival of their 'unbelievable signing' is borne out by the statistics. In the 28 games QPR played without Samba, they conceded 41 goals in 28 games at an average of 1.46 goals a game. In the ten games he did play, Redknapp's side conceded 19 goals in ten games at an average of 1.9 goals per match. Not quite the transformative effect Fernandes would have been hoping for.
QPR finished bottom of the league and were now faced with the nightmare scenario of potentially having to pay Samba's wages in the second tier of English football. That Anzhi have released them from their financial ball and chain is extremely fortunate and slightly mystifying.