QPR are set to lay the groundwork for an audacious swap deal that sees Peter Crouch on his way to Loftus Road – and Junior Hoilett headed the other way to Stoke.
The Potters will unveil former Rs and Fulham boss Mark Hughes as the new man at the Britannia this morning, and Sparky plans to hit the ground running with a City team built in his own image that could include a player he bought twice.
Back in west London, there is no shortage of admirers for a striker coveted by manager Harry Redknapp .
Indeed, both Crouch and the Rs boss were at Tottenham and Portsmouth together, and Harry had a despairing go at bringing the Ealing born-and-bred player back to west London in January.
That move foundered, but twice-relegated Hoilett has no desire to play in the Championship after he escaped doomed Blackburn last summer – and Stoke are in need of a winger.
Like the Redknapp-Crouch relationship, Hughes was the manager who paved the way for Hoilett to make the breakthrough with Rovers in 2008 before reuniting with him a second time last summer.
The sticking points could be 32-year-old Crouch’s £80k-a-week salary and any transfer fee vaguely approaching the £10m Stoke paid for the England international in August 2011.
But Redknapp admitted already he was looking to add at least a couple of ‘legends’ to a squad of up-and-coming players as the club bids to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
The giant forward started his career at Tottenham, but was bought by the club he supports when Rangers boss Gerry Francis paid £60,000 for Crouch in 2001 before he moved to Portsmouth for £1.5m just a season later.