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."
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
1/8 Guillermo Ochoa
The Mexican goalkeeper rose to fame thanks to his brilliant performance against Brazil in the World Cup. The 28-year-old, who left Ajaccio at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
2/8 Rio Ferdinand
Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer. Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract. Ferdinand said last week that if United did not offer him a new deal that he would be “open to offers” but joked that he “would not go below the Conference”. That is unlikely to be an issue as there should be no shortage of clubs looking for a defender of his experience. Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.
3/8 Diego Lugano
The Uruguay captain hit the headlines in Brazil for the wrong reasons as his complete denial that team-mate Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini when everyone else could see it. His contract with West Brom is up for renewal, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to remain in the Premier League.
4/8 Nicolas Anelka
Sacked by West Brom last season for his controversial 'Quenelle' gesture, Anelka has not yet confirmed whether he will sign for a new club - should anyone want him - or announce his retirement.
5/8 Frank Lampard
As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season. But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.
6/8 Marouane Chamakh
The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better. Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety. Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.
7/8 Samuel Eto'o
The striker did not cover himself in glory at the 2014 World Cup, as Cameroon's campaign was blighted by a money row over bonuses and poor performances in Brazil that saw them eliminated at the group stages. However, the Champions League winner will still have a number of clubs interested in his services, with Arsenal being linked in recent weeks.
8/8 Nicklas Bendtner
Despite a fairly successful season by his standards, Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out of Arsenal. The Dane has scored twice this year, in wins over Hull and Cardiff, but he fell behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order while not always conducting himself immaculately off the pitch. He turned down moves away from Arsenal last summer that would have meant pay cuts but this summer he must be hopeful of maximising his value as a free agent.
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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