• Mass exodus of high and low earners likely in summer
• Júlio César, Adel Taarabt and Rob Green also attractive
Loïc Rémy will be the prized target for the Premier League's predators if Queens Park Rangers are relegated, with Tottenham Hotspur prominent among those considering whether to pay the France striker's £8m release clause.
QPR's grip on their top-flight status loosened further when they drew 1-1 at home to Wigan Athletic on Sunday, with the manager, Harry Redknapp, cutting a distraught figure after the visitors' 94th-minute equaliser, describing the result as the "toughest" of his career.
QPR are second from bottom of the table, seven points adrift of safety with six matches to play, and the future of many of their players and of Redknapp has come under the spotlight.
The squad is replete with high-earners and it is questionable whether a club in the Championship would want to fund weekly wages of £50,000 or more – in some cases, significantly more – or whether, with reduced revenue, despite the Premier League parachute payments, they would have the capacity to do so.
If Rémy, who signed in January for £8m from Marseille, will have no shortage of suitors, then the goalkeepers Júlio César and Rob Green, the midfielders Adel Taarabt and Esteban Granero and the forward Junior Hoilett also stand to attract covetous glances.
Júlio César has had a decent season while Taarabt, despite his capacity to infuriate, has shown flickers of his undoubted talent. Granero, who joined from Real Madrid, has struggled in the relegation dogfight but he will hear offers from La Liga while Green and Hoilett remain attractive to Premier League clubs.
The problem for QPR and the expensively paid players will be to find clubs willing to take them on similar deals. Christopher Samba, for example, arrived only in January from Anzhi Makhachkala for £13m on a weekly wage between £62,500 and £100,000, depending on whom one believes and, on recent form, it is not outlandish to suggest that he would have to accept a pay cut if he wanted another transfer.
Samba did take a reduced wage to join QPR – he was earning £125,000 a week at Anzhi – but the attitude in some quarters of the dressing room is that, if clubs cannot offer them what they are earning at Loftus Road, and the worst came to the worst, they will accept it and play in the Championship.
Rémy was a target for Tottenham when Redknapp was manager there but the chairman, Daniel Levy, balked at Marseille's valuation of upwards of £15m. Rémy will be somewhat cheaper in the summer and his form in a struggling QPR team, in which he has been played largely off the wing, has been eye-catching. His goal against Wigan was his fifth in eight appearances. Tottenham are also interested in Aston Villa's Christian Benteke.
QPR stand to part with seven players whose contracts expire in the summer – Radek Cerny, who was given a one-year deal last summer but was then left out of the club's 25-man squad; Brian Murphy; Tal Ben Haim; and the returning loanees DJ Campbell and Rob Hulse; plus the loan signings, Fábio da Silva and Andros Townsend, who will go back to Manchester United and Tottenham respectively.
QPR's returning loanees who remain under contract include Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand, Alejandro Faurlín and Djibril Cissé. Given that they were loaned in the first place – the last three by Redknapp in January – it is clear that the club view them as non-essential players.
Redknapp, who has been linked with West Ham United, says that he wants to stay at QPR in the event of relegation, although he would understand if the financial realities of the Championship meant that he could not be retained. The uncertainty is widespread but it does not extend to the boardroom, where the chairman, Tony Fernandes, who plans to keep Redknapp, has not wavered in his determination to remain for the long term and make a success of the project.
It is reassuring to consider the financial power of the men alongside him, most notably the vice-chairman, Amit Bhatia, who is the son-in-law of Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate and fourth-richest man in the world. Then, there is the board member Kamarudin Bin Meranun and the non-associate director, Ruben Gnanalingam, both of whom are wealthy Malaysian businessmen.
The club will hear the final verdict on their planning application for a new training ground at Warren Farm in west London on 24 April and it is not the sort of investment from which businessmen walk away.
Upheaval, though, is expected to be the watchword of the summer.