Tuesday 21 October 2014

Ferdinand excited by QPR challenge

Published 18/07/2014 | 08:08

Six-time Barclays Premier League winner Rio Ferdinand will line up for QPR next season

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is closing in on a double defensive capture after completing the signing of former England captain Rio Ferdinand on a free transfer and agreeing a fee with Cardiff for England defender Steven Caulker.

The 35-year-old Ferdinand had been looking for a new club since his contract at Manchester United expired and has now been reunited with Redknapp, his former manager at West Ham. Caulker, who played under Redknapp at Tottenham, could also be on his way to Loftus Road in the coming days as Rangers aim to ensure Barclays Premier League survival.

Ferdinand signed a one-year deal with the west London club and takes the experience of six Premier League winners' medals with him - although he insists he still has the desire to achieve.

"I had a lot of offers from all over the world," Ferdinand told qpr.co.uk.

"Some in places with a better climate than here. But the draw for me was to play in the Premier League and back here (in London) where it all started.

"It's not about money - I had loads of more lucrative offers available to me. I still feel I've got something to offer and I'm excited about helping this club cement its place in the Premier League."

Redknapp handed Ferdinand his professional debut when the two were together at West Ham in 1996 and is delighted to have him on board at Loftus Road.

"I signed Rio as a 14-year-old," the 67-year-old said.

"He was class on the field and off the field then, and he's continued in that manner throughout his career. During his time at Manchester United, he was the best defender in Europe, if not the world.

"To bring him to QPR - when he's still got so much to offer in terms of his quality, class, experience and know-how - is a remarkable coup for the club."

With Ferdinand his first new summer recruit, Redknapp showed that he still intends to do more business, with Cardiff skipper Caulker his next target as he looks at a change in formation.

"We've agreed a fee for Steven Caulker, who I like very much,'' he told Sky Sports News.

"I had him at Tottenham as a player and he's done very well. I think for him to come and play with Rio would be a great experience for him.

"I'm looking to play with three central defenders this year. So (there are) those two and then I've got Richard Dunne, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill, I've got real good defenders here."

Caulker was signed by Cardiff last summer as his first-team chances were limited at Spurs but, despite an impressive season on a personal level, the 22-year-old could not help the Bluebirds avoid relegation.

It is understood he has a release clause in his contract, with Southampton, Liverpool and Crystal Palace amongst the other clubs believed to be interested in triggering it.

But Redknapp believes playing alongside his current crop of defenders would help Caulker's career develop as he looks to add to his solitary England cap.

"I think for Steven Caulker to come in and be part of it with those experienced players will be great for him," he added.

"I think Rio will be a big influence on him. I think for Steven it will be the best education he could ever have in his life to play with Rio."

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