Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has agreed to join Queens Park Rangers, with official confirmation expected to arrive shortly on the summer deal.
The newly promoted Premier League side—led by Harry Redknapp, Ferdinand's old boss at West Ham—are said to have captured the signing of England's former captain, per Sky Sports:
Sky Sources: Rio Ferdinand agrees deal to join QPR #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 24, 2014
Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail shed further light on a deal that would see the free agent take a significant wage drop in the aftermath of his United days:
It is believed his salary is less than a third of his £200,000-a-week salary at Manchester United. Ferdinand has also turned down a lucrative media career, with both BT and the BBC keen to land him. 'He just wants to play,' said a friend.
Is Rio Ferdinand past his best?
Ferdinand is currently working as a World Cup pundit with the BBC, but there's no doubt the 35-year-old still has plenty to offer. He is a leader on and off the field, despite a campaign of struggling performances under David Moyes.
The powerful centre-back posted one of his best seasons ever during the 2012-13 title-winning run, but failed to recapture his form after Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Lee Clayton of the Daily Mail believes other clubs should have considered signing him more eagerly:
Rio Ferdinand to sign for QPR. Good signing for Harry Redknapp. One or two other clubs missed a trick. Latest here http://t.co/Ab7dCgaHEb— Lee Clayton (@LeeClayton_) June 24, 2014
Redknapp pushed Ferdinand through to the big stage in 1996, a decision that would eventually see the defender become an all-time Premier League great. Blessed with tremendous pace, physical strength and quality on the ball in his heyday, Ferdinand's athletic ability has often made up for lapses in concentration during a career that has seen him win 16 trophies with United.
QPR fans will be pleased to see the defender come in on a free. Upon the club's prior Premier League return in 2012-13, chairman Tony Fernandes was coaxed into spending an obscene amount of money on big-name players who didn't perform. A loss of £65 million was reported after the aforementioned campaign, reported by David Conn of The Guardian.
Redknapp is a manager who places his trust in footballers he has worked with before. He has continued to sign stars such as Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Niko Kranjcar throughout his managerial career and relies on those who have helped him achieve previous success. He also briefly managed Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road, signalling a familiar feel to how the squad is shaping up.
Ferdinand certainly won't take any opportunity to play football for granted:
As I've said many a time....fortunate to be paid to play football....doctors,nurses,troops,firefighters,police etc more deserving.— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 20, 2014
Some may call the player's age and recent lack of form into question, but Ferdinand is a wise signing from Redknapp. If he can maintain fitness, the London-based club have secured a sturdy and extremely cool-headed defender ahead of a challenging campaign.
Although many Hoops fans will want to see greater ambition with investment in youth, Ferdinand can provide QPR with the experience needed to negotiate Premier League survival.