QPR manager Mark Hughes insists there is absolutely no reason why Ji-Sung Park’s transfer from Manchester United should mark a decline in the midfielder’s career and believes his arrival could prove to be the catalyst for serious success at the west London club.
Park, at an initial £2m, is the club’s sixth summer signing yet though United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed his inability to guarantee Park more playing time partly motivated the transfer, Hughes is adamant that the South Korean international can experience a similar fulfillment to that to which he has become accustomed and cited his own decorated playing career as one that supports his point.
“I’ve not had any discussions with Sir Alex but I’m delighted that two players [Park and Fabio da Silva] have come from the club,” said Hughes. “If you bring a player from Manchester United it’s there for everyone to see. Maybe my connections with Man United help. When I left Man Utd I went to Chelsea, they were mid-table in the Premier League and expectations were quite low.
“When I came, Ruud Gullit and [Gianluca] Vialli came around the same time and from that point onwards I think we won our first trophy in 24 years or so.
“It’s a big step to leave a club like United but it doesn’t have to mean you’re going downwards. It’s another challenge in your life and that’s how I saw it and, as a consequence, when I left United I was able to win three more trophies. You should never think when you leave United that your career is over.
“We brought Ji here with the intention that he’s going to be a part of something really special. He’s going to be here at the beginning of it – which I was when I left United – we want him to make his mark in a team that makes history for QPR.
Hughes also confirmed that Park’s quality instantly demanded he would be considered for the vacant Rangers captaincy but the Champions League winner instead underlined the club’s ambitions as the overwhelming factor in his decision to sign and revealed he had rejected offers from both Asian and European clubs to pursue the challenge presented by QPR.
“Clubs in Asia, other European clubs were interested but the QPR offer was very interesting to me,” he said. “They showed their plan and their ambitions and it was this that made them different.
“I still want to play in Europe; it’s the highest level in the world. If QPR hadn’t explained, their [plans for] the club’s future, I might have stayed at United.”
QPR’S SUMMER SIGNINGS
■ Robert Green, free
■ Ryan Nelsen, free
■ Fabio da Silva, loan
■ Ji-Sung Park, £2m
■ Andy Johnson, free
■ Samba Diakite, undisclosed