• Striker happy to return home to Cardiff for first-team place
• Mark Hughes keen to offer him Premier League football
Cardiff City could yet secure Craig Bellamy’s return to his hometown club on a permanent deal from Liverpool despite Queens Park Rangers being keen to offer the Wales international the chance to remain in the Premier League next season.
The 33-year-old forward, who is with Stuart Pearce’s Team GB squad preparing for the Olympic Games, is considering his future at Anfield despite the new Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, having expressed a desire to keep the veteran. Bellamy is anxious to secure regular first-team football having recently stressed he feels “fitter than ever”. Aware that a bit-part role, at best, awaits on Merseyside, Bellamy would be willing to drop into the Championship given his emotional ties to the Bluebirds.
Cardiff, for whom Bellamy played on loan from Manchester City in the 2010-11 season, are hopeful of signing him on a permanent basis with their manager, Malky Mackay, having played alongside him earlier in his career at Norwich. Yet those hopes will now be threatened by QPR – overseen by the striker’s former Wales, City and Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes – who have confirmed an interest in bringing him to Loftus Road. “Craig is definitely a name that has been mentioned, a name we’ve discussed,” said the QPR vice-chairman, Amit Bhatia, on Sky Sports News. “There are a few options.
“We have been a fan of Craig Bellamy for the last few years, ever since he became available – that’s not to say we have not been fans of other players. Many names have been tossed about, and who Mark settles on eventually will be his, and we’ll do our best to support him.”
QPR, who retained their Premier League status on the final day of last season, have enjoyed a busy summer in the transfer market having already secured Rob Green, Park Ji-sung, Ryan Nelsen, Andrew Johnson and Fabio da Silva, plus Samba Diakité on a long-term deal, ahead of the new season. They still hope to sign the Blackburn Rovers winger Junior Hoilett, who is out of contract at Ewood Park and interesting Borussia Moenchengladbach but keen to remain in the Premier League.
Rovers, recently relegated to the Championship, value the player at £6m but a fee for the Canadian, who is under 24 and therefore commands a compensation package, may have to be decided by a tribunal later this month if no agreement is reached between the clubs.
Joey Barton, meanwhile, has suggested QPR are considering loaning him out at the start of the new season – which might help him serve his 12-match ban more quickly than if he stayed put.
Barton is suspended until November after being sent off against Manchester City on the final day of last season and clashing with Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany as he left the field.
But the 29-year-old midfielder could return to action in October if he is allowed to join a lower-league club on loan, because they play more fixtures in August, September and October than Premier League teams. However, it was unclear whether the Football Association would be willing to sanction such a move.
Barton wrote on his personal website, http://www.joeybarton.com: “The possibility of a loan move has been mentioned, where there’s been interest from several European clubs and a lot of Championship clubs too, as you may expect.”
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