Queens Park Rangers are said to be considering a player-plus-cash deal with Fulham for Ebere Eze, with Alfie Mawson heading the other way.
Any and every club has been linked with the QPR this pre-season. From Crystal Palace to West Ham, to Leeds United and more. But Fulham have emerged as surprise candidates to land the 22-year-old.
It comes after Scott Parker steered Fulham to a second play-off victory in just three years, beating Brentford at Wembley. Now as they look to avoid an immediate relegation, they’re hoping to land Eze in a £15 million deal.
Part of that deal could see Mawson go the other way. It’s expected that Mawson would only be going on-loan to QPR – although the permanent transfer isn’t being ruled out.
Here’s two pros, and two cons of QPR securing Mawson as part of the Eze deal:
Pro: Potential for permanent deal
Mawson came under some scrutiny from Fulham fans last season. In the first-half of the campaign he was a first-choice at the back but in the second, he lost his place to Michael Hector.
Hector’s arrival saw Mawson – who also struggled with injury after New Year – relegated to the bench. After the January FA Cup win over Aston Villa, Mawson would only play a further two minutes of football for Fulham.
Parker then could be willing to ‘give’ Mawson to QPR, as part of the impending deal for Eze. Rumours suggest that Mawson’s wage expectations would exceed that of QPR’s allowance but with Mark Warburton desperate for a defensive addition, he could be willing to ‘break the bank’ for Mawson.
What’s more is that an initial loan deal for Mawson, with the option for a permanent deal in the future, would allow QPR a chance to utilise Mawson before making a decision – this could be the way forward for QPR in this particular deal.
Con: Will Fulham get the better deal out of this?
QPR have so far stood firm on their £20 million valuation of Eze. They’ve seen bids come in from Crystal Palace which were firmly rejected by the board, as they fell well short of QPR’s asking price.
For once then, QPR seem to be holding out in the transfer market, rather than jumping at the first offer to come in. It’s a sign of the times at QPR, but should Fulham get Eze for £15 million, and QPR get Mawson for just a season, then would that really be beneficial to QPR?
No doubt, they need a defender. But Warburton is a manager who likes to have young players in his starting line-up, and the 26-year-old Mawson would be nothing more than a stop-gap until QPR find themselves in the market for a centre-back this time next year, only with £5 million less than intended in the transfer kitty.
There’d likely have to be add-ons on top of the £15 million offer, and that’s still with Mawson completing a season-long loan at QPR – if the club were to cave into the pressure of their West London rivals now, it won’t sit too well with fans.
Quiz: Are these 10 QPR facts actually true?
Pro: Funding for the next generation of R’s
Only two players have left QPR in deals worth over £10 million – Chris Samba in the 2013/14 season, and Loic Remy the following. QPR then stand to break a new transfer record with the inevitable sale of Eze this summer.
With £20 million the asking price, it would almost double the amount that they received from Chelsea for Remy. A club notoriously indebted in recent times as well, they’ve since emerged from that unprecedented season as a club with funding.
The signing of Lyndon Dykes pays homage to the good work done by all at the club in recent years, and the possibility of a £20 million boost for the sale of Eze could see QPR prevail as a club – once again – with money to spend.
Although QPR have made some poor signings of late, they’ve made some good ones too – Eze for one, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair and Ryan Manning to name a few – so with the potential ‘Eze millions’ on the horizon, fans will be looking forward to seeing what, or who the club brings in with it.
Con: Is Mawson really the man to solve QPR’s defensive woes?
QPR might just have enough firepower to ease the departure of Eze, but last season they proved to be one of the worst defensive outfits in the division. Despite scoring 67 across the season, QPR conceded 76 – the 2nd-worst record in the league, only behind bottom-club Hull City.
Defence then was always going to be the main area of concern for Warburton going into the pre-season. So far though, he’s signed two midfielders and a striker, with Grant Hall having left and Toni Leistner also looking at the exit.
Yoann Barbet and Conor Masterson are the sole options at centre-back for QPR, and whilst Mawson would be a strong addition, is he really going to be the man to solve QPR’s defensive struggles?
He’s not played in over six months. He’s proved inconsistent with injuries and form and furthermore, if he were to join only for a season, would he really be that motivated? A player once regarded as the ‘next best English defender’ trying to salvage his dwindling career on-loan at QPR? It’s an interesting deal nonetheless, and expect Fulham to get the ball moving this week.