Harry Redknapp is primed to make a startling raid on his former club Tottenham Hotspur to sign David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend as he battles to keep Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League.
The Loftus Road manager has said that his club will be doomed if they cannot beat Thursday night's transfer cut-off to bolster the squad and he also hopes to complete the signing of the Anzhi Makhachkala central defender Christopher Samba for a club record fee. It is the potential purchase of the Tottenham trio, though, that promises to be a major plotline of deadline day.
Bentley's deal expires in the summer of 2014 and Jenas's at the end of this season and Redknapp effectively wants to take over their contracts. Townsend, the young winger, is wanted on loan until the end of the campaign.
The capture of Bentley, in particular, would raise eyebrows, given that Redknapp expressed his frustration with the some-time England winger when they worked together at Tottenham. He could not find a place for him in the team and he sent him on loan to Birmingham City and West Ham. There was also the infamous incident when Bentley drenched Redknapp with water in the boisterous celebrations after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League in 2010, which did not go down well.
Redknapp, though, has always appreciated Bentley's creative talent. The 28-year-old, who joined Tottenham from Blackburn Rovers for £15m in 2008, has just returned from a loan at FC Rostov in Russia and Jenas is back from a loan at Nottingham Forest.
Samba left Anzhi's winter training camp in Marbella on Tuesday without bidding farewell to his team-mates and flew to London, with the Russian club's manager, Guus Hiddink, confirming he expected the deal to go through before the cut-off. QPR have triggered a clause in the 28-year-old's £100,000-a-week contract, thought to be set at £12.5m, with the centre-half keen to return to England.
"It's not a very good situation," said Hiddink. "Samba was with us during this season, began preparations for the winter training camps and suddenly this opportunity arose with an English club. He left for England on Tuesday. Unfortunately we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him. He didn't explain anything to us. Everything has developed very quickly." Almost by way of consolation, Anzhi expect to sign the Brazilian winger Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk for around £29m.
Samba would join Yun Suk-young at Loftus Road after the South Korea left-back was granted international clearance and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract. Another defensive target, the Portuguese centre-half Rolando, is expected to complete a six-month loan move to Napoli from Porto, and the Rangers chairman, Tony Fernandes, has seen a second, improved bid for the Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland rejected. The Craven Cottage club hope to retain their captain until the end of the season. QPR are expected to resume talks with Stoke City over the purchase of Peter Crouch, who has played under Redknapp at Southampton, Tottenham and Portsmouth, though the clubs are some distance apart over a fee for the 32-year-old.
There will be further departures, too, from Loftus Road with the forward DJ Campbell likely to join Hull City in the Championship and Alejandro Faurlín talking to Palermo over a loan move until the end of the season.