By Nick Friend Before I start, I should point out that this is written from a completely neutral point of view. I’m a QPR fan, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed watching Loic Remy tear up defences for six months, I’m neither holding my breath nor particularly wanting to see him back in the blue and white hoops next year – regardless of our division.
That’s not because I think Alan Pardew will snap him up in January for £10m and it’s definitely not because Harry Redknapp will let him rot in the reserves on £60,000 per week. Simply, Remy is destined for greater things. With respect, Newcastle United is no longer the footballing powerhouse that Messrs Keegan and Dalglish attempted to create in the late ‘90s.
Remy has used this year as a stepping stone – essentially, a season in the shop window. With certain clubs not prepared to take the gamble on his glass hamstring and potential rape trial, Newcastle stepped in and gave the man who rejected them in January a second chance.
I can’t see Remy showing the same sort of loyalty come August. The World Cup will have finished and Remy may well have enhanced his ever-growing reputation even further.
To put it simply, Loic Remy is the most naturally gifted goalscorer in England. There are better finishers than him – van Persie, Chicharito, Berbatov to name but three. Yet, what Remy has is different. It is unique. He has found ways of scoring goals that nobody else in the Premier League would even contemplate.
Go back to April and QPR vs Wigan. Remy ran onto Stephane M’Bia’s pass and found the top corner with a sidefoot finish from the most outrageous of positions. 99 players out of 100 wouldn’t even take that on. The same 99 players who wouldn’t dare try it, would – if they tried it – balloon the attempt into row Z.
Remy not only tried it, but it came off. Similarly, his second goal at the Cardiff City Stadium this season showed an identical thought process. Not a single other Premier League striker would even bother try and bend a low strike with his instep around a defender and into the bottom corner. It was an absurd finish.
What Remy has is an instinctive mind. I’m not suggesting that he’s at the same level, but there is an element of Thierry Henry about him. His goal at Tottenham last week had shades of Henry’s runs on the shoulder; the fluid languidness of his two touches to round Friedel and then the composed finish.
He has a touch of what the van Nistelrooy’s, Owen’s, Fowler’s, Shearer’s had in the past. They know where the goal is. I stand by my belief from last year that QPR would have stayed up had he remained fit from January through to May.
He is – in my view – the most naturally gifted finisher in the country. For me, Chicharito is the ‘best’ and most clinical finisher around. He knows his job. It is to get the ball into the net in whatever way possible. Eduardo – the former Arsenal man – was similar in that respect. I believe that if Van Persie and Chicharito played the same number of games over a season, Hernandez would outscore the Dutchman. Van Persie is a better all-round footballer but the Mexican is, in my view, a better finisher.
I reckon that if Remy’s fitness record was more solid and if didn’t have a possible court case hanging over him, Arsenal or Tottenham would have signed him permanently over the summer. For me, he is exactly what Spurs need. He is three times the player Jermain Defoe is yet is in a very similar mould. Roberto Soldado isn’t what they need with the creativity they have off the striker. They need someone of the calibre and style of Remy – always looking in behind and with raw pace to burn.
I only watched him live for six months but I can honestly say that barring Luis Suarez (who tore us apart on two occasions), Remy is the best forward I’ve ever seen play at Loftus Road. His goal against Wigan was the Goal of the Season. The fact that he didn’t win it was a joke. It was a goal that only Loic Remy could have scored. He is unique. That is why Newcastle fans must appreciate him while he’s at St. James’ Park. He’ll be gone before you know it.