French born, but of Moroccan heritage he stands firmly in the spotlight ahead of QPR’s first season back in the top flight for fifteen years. The confident midfielder is already being tipped to be the fulcrum between success and failure for his club, a heavy burden for young shoulders, but one you would imagine he will relish.
With rumors that the biggest names in football want him, Taarabt is all too happy to proliferate an association with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. A delusion of grandeur perhaps, but a transfer to PSG seemed likely last month. What would have been a catastrophic blow to manager Neil Warnock, was only furthered by his admission he would see little of the fee. This was in part due to the fact Tottenham had included a healthy sell on clause, when they sold him in 2010.
Frustrating is one word you can associate with Taraabt. His one-man show attitude often leads to confrontation, be it with his manager or even his own teammates. When asked, veteran midfielder Sean Derry laughed it off, claiming the anger is bore from a jealousy due to his own lack of ability. However it would be foolish to ignore that on occasion, his confidence meanders into arrogance.
Yet as fans we do seem to revel in that over confidence, at least sometimes. Take Thierry Henry- his swagger, his presence, it all fed into an image that made him one of the Premier League’s biggest stars. By contrast Mario Balotelli is perceived as pretentious, and maybe that’s what separates the admired from the castigated, achievement.
Because for all his posturing and cute dribbles Adel Taarabt hasn’t done anything at England’s top table. With his chance edging closer, the concern for QPR is what to do if he doesn’t work.
At the time of writing their biggest acquisitions remain somewhat modest. Relatively untested serial pretender Jay Bothroyd is dining on his last chance in the Premier League. While Kieron Dyer has struggled to make any impact in English football since departing Newcastle four years ago.
With Dyer’s former teammate at West Ham Danny Gabbidon, also signing a one-year deal, the parsimonious approach QPR are adopting doesn’t seem befitting of a club with links to the likes of Flavio Briatorie.
The situation is worsened by the lack of stability afforded to Neil Warnock. In the wake of an impressive promotion campaign, Warnock was instantly tipped to lose his job, putting him in the company of Fabio Capello at Real Madrid for backwards dismissals. After surviving the cull, his hampered efforts to add further quality to the squad has already placed QPR firmly in the ‘likely to struggle’ column.
Their rivals Chelsea boast a wealth you would imagine some Rangers fans envy. They do share one thing with their neighbours however, in the shape of exorbitant ticket prices. Charging upwards of fifty pounds for away fans, it holds all the hallmarks of trying to cash in, not something you would wish to associate with a club like Q.P.R.
Having boasted such midfield mavericks as Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh in the past, Q.P.R will now turn to the new generation in Taarabt as they entertain Bolton on the opening day. Whether he will become quite as adored as those before him is uncertain, but it will most definitely leave an interesting subplot to the 2011 Premier League season.