QPR boss Harry Redknapp has admitted his interest in linking up with Jermain Defoe for a fourth time but fears the Hoops may be priced out of a deal for the former England striker.
The 32-year-old has endured a turbulent first season in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC despite netting 11 goals in 19 appearances and has been linked with a return to English shores when the transfer window re-opens.
QPR have been heavily reliant on the goals of Charlie Austin this season, with his tally of seven representing half their Premier League haul, with Eduardo Vargas – who netted twice against Liverpool in October – one of only four other players to find the net.
Redknapp acknowledges his strike force needs bolstering if QPR are to avoid an immediate return to the Championship and has refused to hide his admiration for a player he has previously managed at West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham.
“I love him [Defoe] as a player and as a lad but it will depend on what the deal is,’ said Redknapp.
“It depends on how much it costs, if it’s too expensive it wouldn’t be something that we could do. There wouldn’t be too many clubs who could afford him. He’s got a great contract where he is.
“We’ve got three strikers [Austin, Vargas and Bobby Zamora] and they’ve all been excellent but in an ideal world you certainly need four. That’s an area we’ll look at if we can find the right person.”
Austin is the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League alongside West Brom’s Saido Berahino and is set to spearhead the attack when QPR visit high-flying Swansea tonight and bid to arrest their woeful away form of six defeats in as many games.
Redknapp believes Austin has the striking instinct to hit 20 goals this term and, with the 25-year-old in the final 18 months of his contract, he is convinced the club’s hierarchy will move to ward off potential interest in their prized asset.
“I’m sure everyone wants to keep Charlie here and I’m sure [Chairman] Tony Fernandes and [Chief Executive] Phil Beard will be sitting down talking to him,” added Redknapp.
“He is a player that needs to get 20 goals a season. He is capable of that, the way he’s playing. He’s been great for is and he’s a great lad as well and I’m sure he’s very happy here.
“He’s come into the Premier League but he’s only played a dozen games so he has a long way to go, but he knows that. It’s early in the season and he will be judged at the end.”