Peter Odemwingie was at the centre of a bizarre misunderstanding as the deadline day transfer that he had hoped to force from West Bromwich Albion to Queens Park Rangers fell apart. When he turned up at Loftus Road expecting to sign, he was barred from the stadium.
Harry Redknapp, the Rangers manager, broke the club's transfer record for the second time in a little over two weeks with the £12.5m signing of the central defender Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala and he added the midfielders Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend from his old club Tottenham Hotspur – the former on an 18-month contract, the latter, on loan for the remainder of the season.
Yet it was the drama and controversy of Odemwingie's failed move that appeared to deflate Redknapp, who also missed out on Stoke City's Peter Crouch, another of his targets up front, and a third Tottenham player, the midfielder David Bentley.
Odemwingie is likely to be fined two weeks' wages by West Brom, who said they were "extremely disappointed to witness TV footage of Odemwingie arriving at Loftus Road" when no deal had been struck. The club's chairman, Jeremy Peace, accused the striker of acting "wholly unprofessionally" and said: "He must now accept the fact he remains under contract for a further 18 months." Peace called the whole episode "unsavoury".
Odemwingie had submitted a transfer request last week at The Hawthorns, which was rejected and he tweeted his frustration as his club blocked two offers for him from Rangers. A deal finally looked set to happen on Thursday, with Albion taking Junior Hoilett on loan in part-exchange, only for the QPR forward to refuse to move.
At some point the message was not relayed correctly to Odemwingie, who arrived at Loftus Road to address a media scrum and suggest that he was ready to join Rangers and begin "a new chapter" in his career. Albion, though, immediately released a statement, which said they had no agreement over the transfer and Odemwingie did not have permission to speak to Rangers.
The London club then said the 31-year-old had appeared "unannounced" and had been "denied access to Loftus Road". Redknapp and the chief executive, Phil Beard, tried to revive the purchase but at 10.45pm, 15 minutes before the deadline, they admitted defeat, with Albion insistent that they would not sell. Odemwingie may have to work hard to reintegrate himself with his team-mates and the supporters.
"I think he probably felt that the deal had been agreed between the clubs and it hadn't and it was all a bit of a mix-up, really," Redknapp said. "I feel sorry for the lad and the way the whole thing's turned out. It wasn't any of our doing. I think maybe he was advised that he should turn up here, that the club had made an offer and the offer had been accepted. The wires got crossed somewhere."
Redknapp described the day that he had billed as crucial to Rangers' Premier League survival prospects as "a bit frustrating". The move for Bentley fell apart when the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, demanded a prohibitively high fee. Bentley is out of contract in 2014 and Levy has been consistently determined to recoup a portion of the £15m that he paid for him in 2008.
Redknapp, who loaned the midfielder Alejandro Faurlín to Palermo, was asked whether he felt more confident about survival than he had done at the beginning of the day. "It's going to be difficult," he replied. "But we are bang in there. We still have a chance."
He had been delighted earlier in the day when Samba became the 27th incoming transfer of Tony Fernandes' 17-month tenure at Loftus Road, the chairman having met the value of his release clause at Anzhi. The 28-year-old Congolese joins on a four-and-a-half-year contract and he follows the striker Loïc Rémy who, at £8m from Marseille, was the previous record signing.
Samba's advisor, Walid Bouzid, said that his client's weekly wage was less than £100,000-a-week but he added that the money was certainly "Premier League-sized" and did not include a clause to decrease it if the club was relegated into the Championship. Redknapp's bottom-placed team are four points adrift of safety with 14 matches to go.
"Chris is just what we need," Redknapp said. "He's a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper centre-half."