sport

Taarabt backed to surprise

Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes is backing Adel Taarabt to be 'a surprise for many' in the Premier League this season.

The mercurial Morocco international is back at Loftus Road after splitting the 2013/14 campaign between loan spells at Fulham and AC Milan.

He is also back to stay, with the summer transfer window having closed without another deal being done.

Fernandes says Taarabt is 'focused' on the task in hand, as he attempts to convince Harry Redknapp of his worth, and is tipping the 25-year-old to have a 'special' role to play as he looks to rediscover his best form in English football.

"I think Adel will be a surprise for many this season," Fernandes said in the Evening Standard.

"He's focused and wants to stay at QPR. He can turn games around in a few minutes, so it's important to have him.

"He is happy to be here. He was the best player at Burton Albion last week (in the Capital One Cup), even though we lost.

"Like many people who wrote off Joey (Barton) – and he was key for us last season – Adel is going to be something special.

"People have forgotten about him a little bit but he can do extraordinary things. At AC Milan last season he was quite special."

Fernandes is also of the opinion that Niko Kranjcar can offer plenty to the cause having returned to QPR on a second season-long loan leaner than he was during a successful promotion push last term.

He added: "Niko has worked on his fitness, he has lost a lot of weight and is raring to go.

"He brings a great spirit into the dressing room, he knows us and is glad to be back."