London: Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy is heading for Chelsea after the 2012 European champions activated a 10.5 million pounds ($17.42 million) buyout clause in the French international`s contract on Saturday.
Manager Harry Redknapp said QPR`s west London neighbours had secured a bargain in their efforts to sign a replacement for AC Milan-bound Fernando Torres.
"He`s got to be the cheapest buy of the century because when you look at what strikers are going for at the moment... everybody`s eight million, nines, 11s, 12s," he told reporters after his side beat Sunderland 1-0 at Loftus Road without Remy.
"But there`s nothing we could do about it. He had a buyout clause."
A QPR official confirmed the buyout clause was 10.5 million pounds, a figure that brought a smile to Redknapp`s face.
"That`s better than I thought, I thought it was eight-point something," he grinned.
Redknapp said he left the 27-year-old out of his starting lineup, for what turned out to be the promoted club`s first Premier League win of the season following two defeats, because he felt he had no choice.
SPANNER IN WORKS
"We had a spanner thrown in the works at 12 o`clock today when I got a phone call to say that Loic is leaving which was a massive shock to me, I didn`t expect that at all," he explained.
"He worked yesterday with the team and I never had any idea that he might be leaving.
"It wasn`t a case of him refusing to play. He came in, and I had a chat with him. I said `Look, Loic, it may be difficult. I need 11 out there today whose heads are completely on playing for QPR.` So I took the decision," said Redknapp.
The manager understood the player`s position, with Remy signing a buyout clause when he first joined QPR before they were relegated in 2013, and he spent last season on loan to Newcastle United.
"I`m not criticising him. He`s gone to Chelsea, Champions League and whatever... it`s a fantastic opportunity for the boy and it`s difficult to turn down," said Redknapp.
With Torres expected to join Milan on a two-year loan deal, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants another striker to compete with Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.
Remy scored 14 goals in 26 league games at Newcastle and seemed to be heading to Liverpool earlier in the transfer window but failed a medical.
Redknapp said at the time that he could not understand Liverpool`s reasoning and that there must be another one because "you couldn`t meet a fitter lad".
After Chelsea`s 6-3 win at Everton on Saturday, Mourinho told Sky Sports: "We`re trying since yesterday - since we knew Nando was leaving - to get Remy. We have a fantastic doctor and I trust him completely so for sure they will identify any problem."
"The information we have from specialists in the various areas is that he doesn`t have a problem playing football."
Remy`s imminent departure leaves Redknapp looking for a replacement, in a side light on firepower, with little time remaining in the transfer window and even Championship strikers commanding eye-catching fees.