QPR take Bonne chance – Signing
Friday, 2nd Oct 2020 12:15 by Clive Whittingham
QPR have made a second permanent striker signing of the summer, adding 24-year-old Charlton striker Macauley Bonne on a three year contract.
Macauley Bonne is a 24-year-old, Ipswich-born, Zimbabwean international striker. He enjoys days at the beach, cultivating a herb garden, and purchasing antique furniture then having a discussion about where to place it in a room.
Despite only being 24 (25 later this month) Bonne has already clocked up 228 senior appearances and 75 goals for five professional clubs. He initially started in the youth system at home town club Ipswich Town before moving down the A12 to Colchester where he made his professional debut as a substitute in a 1-1 league draw at Shrewsbury in October 2013, just shy of his eighteenth birthday. He scored three goals in his first seven senior appearances, against Peterborough and MK Dons in the league and Sheff Utd in the FA Cup and finished the year with those three goals from three starts and 12 sub appearances.
Just the ten appearances (three starts) and one goal (in a 3-2 home win against Bristol City) in 2014/15 before he became a more regular participant in 2015/16 with 16 starts and 21 sub appearances resulting in nine goals. The following year he featured mainly from the bench with 21 sub appearances and three starts for just two goals. He also had two brief loan spells in 2016/17 – five starts, two sub apps and one goal for Lincoln City in the National League, and another five and two for Woking in the same league without scoring.
His final Colchester goal came in a 3-1 win at Orient in the final away game of the 2016/17 season, which helped relegate the O’s. Now in the Conference, they bolstered their attack with the acquisition of Bonne at the end of his Colchester contract and he quickly hit the ground running in non-league with a burst of seven goals in five appearances at the end of August. He’d finish with 22 goals in 45 appearances that year and he bettered that with 23 in 46 in 2018/19. He got his first senior hat tricks against Braintree and Guisely over that hot two year period.
A total of 47 goals in 90 (1) appearances for Orient persuaded newly promoted Charlton to take a £200k punt on Bonne for their Championship squad last season. Seen as something of a project by manager Lee Bowyer, his form mirrored Athletic’s overall season with a hot start slowly draining away into a relegation. He scored his first goal in the second tier in his first start - a 1-0 win over eventual champions Leeds at the end of September, and then scored four in four against Fulham, Derby, Bristol City and West Brom – decent teams. A sixth followed against Sheff Wed to make it half a dozen goals in his first 14 Addicks appearances.
There was then something of a drought with two goals in a 3-2 home win against Bristol City all he had to show for 15 outings before he came home with a wet sail with three goals in the final five fixtures against Brentford, Birmingham and Wigan. Still, 11 goals in 27 starts and seven apps in his first Championship season as a “project” isn’t a bad return at all, particularly in a relegated side.
Bonne made his debut for the Zimbabwe under-23 side in 2-1 friendly defeat against Morocco in November 2014, scoring the opening goal after 18 minutes. Bonne made his full international debut in November 2017, starting in Zimbabwe's 1–0 defeat to Lesotho.
He has signed a three-year contract at QPR with the ever present option on the club’s side for a fourth. The South London Press report the fee as high as £2m, though that would presumably involve a lot of clauses and add-ons given QPR’s well known financial situation. He will wear squad number seven and as he was signed before midday today is technically eligible to play for us at Hillsborough tomorrow.
“The second I heard there was interest, my head was turned. I’ll easily say that – my head was turned straight away. When you look at someone like Ebere Eze, the manager here and the club must be doing something right to develop players into Premier League players. I am happy and proud of where I have come from to get to where I am today. I will fight for the team, I will fight for my team-mates and I just can’t wait to get started.” -Macauley Bonne
“Macauley has already shown himself to be a proven goalscorer at this level, and he did it with a team in the lower half of the division. He can score a variety of goals, he’s young, hungry and has a lot of development potential in him. He will help to lighten the load for Lyndon Dykes and will certainly give us a different option up front.” -Warbs Warburton
“QPR came in and made an offer we couldn’t refuse. He did well for us last season and got 11 goals but looking at the bigger picture I think it’s the right price and right deal for us. We brought Macauley in just over a year ago and paid just over £200k for him as a project, he’s done well and approved and we’ve got an offer that was the right offer for the club. It’s not like we’ve done this because we’re desperate for money, it’s for footballing reasons, he will move on and we’ll look to replace him.” -Lee Bowyer, Charlton manager
“He's quick and full of running, but perhaps a bit raw for the level so it's one where you'd have to do a bit of work with him and hope he'll turn into a goalscorer - which he may do in a Warburton side - but he's not a Hugill/Wells type where he already has some pedigree.” -Gabriel Sutton, @_FootballLab
“I love that we are building squad of our own players and investing in them. Can't deny that a loan or two definitely has its merits, but this is a much more sustainable approach we are taking now. Well done QPR.” -CPGerBer
“Can't lie, of all the signings rumoured Bonne was the one I was the most apprehensive of. Hopefully the scouts think they're on to something special, to me once it became clear Charlton were settled in a position to negotiate a decent fee on their terms it seemed a very high risk Washingtonesque punt in the current circumstances - much as loans are seen as dead money etc. The Swedish lad at Brighton seemed more sensible and appealing.” -Rsonist
A lot of the good in this signing is the same as the good in the Lyndon Dykes acquisition (no, that’s not me paving the way for a copy and paste, shut it).
The market, as it has existed over the past few seasons, has comprehensively priced QPR out of owning strikers, forcing them to rely on loans with mixed results. Hugill, Wells, Hemed, Mlakar, yadda yadda. A combination of the Ebere Eze sale, sound financial planning over the past few seasons, the Covid crisis leaving clubs desperate for money, unique situations at clubs such as Charlton and Wigan, and shopping in markets such as the SPL where transfer fees aren’t quite so eye-watering, has enabled Rangers to finally spend money within their budget and get strikers of their own.
Strikers that tick a lot of boxes as well. Bonne and Dykes are both 24, with plenty of development ahead of them and resale value if that development goes well. They’ve both impressed at the level we need them to impress at in the past – Dykes notorious for bullying the Old Firm defences north of the border, Bonne bagging 11 goals in a relegated side at this level last year having stepped all the way up from the Conference. In theory they should compliment each other as well, with Dykes more of a big target man, and Bonne more of a work horse ratter alongside. Ten of Bonne’s 11 Charlton goals were inside the box last year and he ranked sixth in the league on conversion percentage – ideal, in theory, for a team like QPR which creates barrel loads of chances but isn’t always as clinical as it should be in the penalty box. It’s a step up for both, they want to be here and make a go of this.
The negative comes in the rumoured price. The huge caveat is that as QPR only do undisclosed fees, and nobody has had a word in the LFW shell this time around, we’re relying on South London Press who get their info from Charlton, and Charlton will want to make this look like a good deal for them. The £2m figure quoted almost certainly will only be reached with a whole load of clauses and add ons but still represents a big outlay for QPR on anybody, least of all a striker with only one season at this level under his belt. The Charlton fans were far from convinced by him despite the 11 goals – the word “raw” crops up a lot in conversations about him. Rangers fans, burned by their Conor Washington experience, will always be wary in these circumstances.
The other thing – and this is probably entirely personal to me – is that we still feel one step higher in the food chain than we should be. I’d like us to be the one taking the £200k chance on Leyton Orient’s Macauley Bonne, not paying seven figures for him a year down the line after he’s done it for the club that did.
But trying to get through the season with just Lyndon Dykes as a striker with Aramide Oteh was always likely to be a huge risk. If Bonne fits into the budget and wage bill, and QPR continue to create chances at the rate they did last season – despite Ebere Eze’s exit we still sit fifth in the trendy “expected goals” Championship league table – then this could prove to be a handy acquisition. Acquisition, rather than loan, being the operative word.
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords, @SideSammy
Pictures – Action Images
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