James Perch has become Queens Park Rangers’ seventh signing of the summer, after he completed his move from Wigan Athletic.
The Loftus Road club suffered relegation from the Premier League last term, and there is a consensus at the club that this has at least given them the chance to clear out some of their dead wood and redesign their first team squad. This has included the departures of big-earners such as Joey Barton, Richard Dunne, Rio Ferdinand, Adel Taarabt and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Manager Chris Ramsey, who has been given the role on a permanent basis, has been able to add to his number, and has brought in Massimo Luongo and Ben Gladwin from Swindon Town, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas from Bristol City, Jamie Mackie from Nottingham Forest, Sebastian Polter from Mainz, Tjaronn Chery from Groningen, and now Perch from Wigan Athletic.
The defender, who can play all across the back four, has been named the Player of the Year at his previous club for the past two years, and also has experience of playing for Forest and Newcastle United. When the opportunity came for him to make the switch to Loftus Road this summer, the 29-year-old has revealed it was a relatively easy decision for him to make.
“It’s great to be here and to have my future sorted out,” he told the official club website. “Les [Ferdinand] and the gaffer sold the club to me brilliantly. They showed a great desire to bring me here, and that helped make up my mind. I know players who have played here before and they spoke about the club in good terms, so it was an easy decision for me.
“I’ve played in the Championship for quite a few years now and I know what to expect from the division. It’s a tough division; it’s Saturday-Tuesday a lot of the time; there are no easy games, but we’ll front up the challenge head on and compete as best we can. I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting into the side and proving my worth at Queens Park Rangers.”
The latest departure from the Rangers squad, meanwhile, is defender Steven Caulker. The England international, who has a single cap for his country, joined the capital club from Cardiff City in the summer of 2014 for a fee believed to have been around £5million, has made an instant return to the Premier League by linking up with Southampton on an initial loan deal.
Charlie Austin, who scored 18 times in the top-flight last season, is also expected to leave before the window closes in September. Newcastle United are said to be leading the race for the 26-year-old, although their opening offer of £12million was rejected. Ramsey accepts the former Burnley star will leave this summer, but he is determined to hold out for at least £15million.
“We have to be realistic,” Ramsey told TalkSPORT. “It’s unlikely he’ll stay. We want to keep him but it’s unlikely. The club is in a financial position that it needs to recoup some money and I think for his ambitions he wants to keep playing in the Premier League to go to the Euros. We’re looking in excess of £15million – goalscoring is something you can’t coach, some people just have it.”