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04.01.2008 Sports News

Patrick Agyemang set to join QPR

Ghana striker Patrick Agyemang is set to join big-spending English Championship side Queens Park Rangers this week after the London club's wealthy new backers made him an offer he could not refuse.

The Preston North End striker is expected to sign in at Loftus Road in the next 48 hours once the two clubs have settled on a price.

Agyemang was left out of Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday with the deal at an advanced stage.

But he should be a Rangers player in time to be considered for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.

"I'm disappointed to lose Patrick because I wanted to keep him," said manager Alan Irvine. "But we can't match what QPR are prepared to offer Patrick."

North End say Rangers are not the only club interested in taking the speedy frontman.

But with motor racing moguls Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore now in charge at Loftus Road ? and with steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal adding further financial muscle ? no one is likely to outbid them in the Championship.

Agyemang has been the subject of speculation for the past few weeks with Leicester City one of the other clubs reported to be tracking him.

The London-born striker, who recently turned down a new deal at Deepdale ? his contract runs out in the summer ? travelled with the North End squad to Hillsborough on Tuesday but watched the game from the stand as a precaution.

Irvine said: "It looks like Patrick will be leaving us ? he has been made aware of a very good offer from QPR. And it is an offer which is out of our league.

"Patrick has played in the last few games with the knowledge that this move was pending and I appreciate what he has done as far as that is concerned.

"But it was a situation where he has been getting more and more nervous about getting injured as the time has gone on and it has been getting closer to the time of the window opening.

"I just felt it would have been probably asking a lot of him to put him out there at Hillsborough.

"When it will happen I'm not quite sure. But it is really a case of when it will happen rather than if it will.

"We can't match their offer and it is also an opportunity for him to go back down to London, which he is keen to do.

"So while we were trying to make an offer to Patrick, it was one that wouldn't have lived up to what QPR can do nowadays.

"He is a threat because of his pace and that is something everyone is looking for. And obviously QPR feel that way.

"There are other clubs interested in Patrick, but that is the only firm offer that we have received."

Rangers have already embarked on a January spending spree with Plymouth's Hungarian playmaker Akos Buzsaky the first player to pen a ?500,000 deal.

Arsenal centre-half Matt Connolly will be arriving for ?1m, while winger Hogan Ephraim from West Ham (?800,000) is one of a long list of others reported to be heading to Loftus Road.

Agyemang has been at Preston for just over three years, but has only started 55 league games in that time, being used more as an impact player coming off the bench.North End bought him for ?350,000 from Gillingham and he was previously with Wimbledon.

His departure, coupled with that of on-loan striker Andy Carroll, recalled by Newcastle, will leave Preston with four strikers instead of six.

But the future of Paul Gallagher is also in doubt after his loan spell expired on Tuesday. So Irvine could be left with just three.

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