Queens Park Rangers extended the stays of Ryan Manning and Bright Osayi-Samuel this week.
The pair were in the final months of their contracts, but the club has triggered one-year extensions to keep both of them in West London until the summer of 2021.
Manning has been excellent for QPR this season. Undertaking the left-back role he’s proved to be one of the league’s most creative from that position, and his performance against Stoke City last weekend was one of his best in a QPR shirt.
Osayi-Samuel has also been a standout player for QPR this season. He had to wait a while to get his chance under Mark Warburton, but has since proved his worth with a handful of goals, and some terrific performances.
Both are important players, but both have been linked with Premier League clubs this season – Manning was a target of both Newcastle and Southampton earlier in the campaign, whilst Osayi-Samuel was being considered by Burnley last month.
No doubt, this week’s news was some of the best that QPR fans have heard all season, but is it simply a tactical move in preparation for the Premier League vultures to come back around in the summer?
Already running on a thin squad, Warburton will be left with the bare bones come the end of the season – several on-loan players will return to their parent clubs, a few others like Grant Hall, Geoff Cameron, and Angel Rangel will all be out-of-contract, and Ebere Eze will likely head for the top-flight.
It would’ve been criminal to let Manning and Osayi-Samuel for free this summer. Warburton, Les Ferdinand and co are probably expecting some interest in both come the end of the season and now, by extending their stays for a further season, they can look to make a bit of cash on them.
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One gets the feeling that if QPR don’t show an upsurge in the final few weeks of the season, then the likes of Eze will look for the door, and once your star man leaves, others are more inclined to follow suit.
This season has been a hugely entertaining one if anything for QPR fans – the emergence of these fine young players, some thumping wins, and plenty of goals going in at either end
But the ‘Class of Warburton’ were always going to move on before the club could regain Premier League status, and this looks like the summer that they’ll all go their separate ways.