Loïc Rémy has rejected the suggestion that he has placed financial gain ahead of sporting success by choosing to join Queens Park Rangers. The 26-year-old claimed that what convinced him to turn down Newcastle United in favour of the club at the bottom of the Premier League was the challenge of firing QPR to survival and the warmth and wisdom of the club's management as opposed to reported wages of £75,000 per week, far above what Newcastle offered.
"A lot of people are shocked that I chose QPR but it's no way a decision based on financial reasons," said the forward after his unveiling following his £8m capture from Marseille. "It was not a decision about money. It's an interesting challenge. Newcastle offered me a very good contract. I could have stayed at Marseille, I had a good contract there."
Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his team's need for a new striker, at times choosing to deploy a midfielder up front rather than put his trust in Djibril Cissé, who will now be allowed go on loan to a club in Qatar as Rémy goes straight into the starting line-up.
Redknapp has been chasing Rémy for almost three years, having previously tried to sign him for Tottenham. The France international, who last year held talks with Stoke City before deciding against a move there, admitted that until as recently as last week he was reluctant to meet Redknapp and discuss a move to Loftus Road. However, he said the manager's persistence eventually persuaded him, as did an impromptu visit from QPR's co-owner Tony Fernandes, who turned up at Rémy's home in France and discussed the move over a game of football on the PlayStation.
"I must say I was very surprised by Tony Fernandes," said Rémy. "The chairman came to meet me in Marseille and he's a very down-to-earth man. It's true that he's ambitious but he's also very humble. He actually came to my house which is something that had never happened before. I saw a straightforward human being. Yes, he's the chairman but he's a human being.
"I made my decision based on two [other] factors. I already know the coach here and I'm really excited by the project that QPR have here over the future. It's true it's a big challenge and the team is in a tough situation. But since [Redknapp] has been here the team has changed a great deal."
Rémy said that his former Marseille team-mate, Joey Barton, told him what to expect. "He said that the English league is very physical, it is very demanding but he thinks I can be a success here … He told me it was like a war every week, so I had to prepare myself."
Rémy declined to say whether he has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Loftus Road if QPR are relegated.