Harry Redknapp has revealed Rio Ferdinand showed a desire to join QPR despite offers from ‘two big London clubs’.
The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal at Loftus Road on Thursday and trained with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday morning.
Ferdinand won six Premier League titles during a successful spell at Manchester United but found himself a free agent when his last contract expired at Old Trafford.
The move to Rangers not only sees Ferdinand move back to the capital but also link up with Redknapp, the man who handed him his senior professional debut in 1996 at West Ham.
Redknapp later sold Ferdinand to Leeds United for a record-breaking fee of £18m. He spent two seasons at the club, becoming team captain in 2001.
He joined Manchester United in July, 2002 for around £30m, breaking the transfer fee record once more.
On signing his new contract, Ferdinand expressed a passion for wanting to help keep promoted Rangers in the top flight and Redknapp feels this, coupled with the turning down of bigger offers, proves the former England captain is up for the fight.
“I think he is going to be a fantastic player for the club,” said Redknapp.
“He is a top-class guy. A great role model I think, I signed him as a 14-year-old so I know him better than anybody.
“He didn’t need convincing (to join) – he wanted to come to QPR. He spoke to two top London clubs, but he wanted to come here and to play. He could have gone elsewhere and maybe not played at times.
“I don’t care what age they are – it’s about staying in the Premier League.
“We are not going to spend fortunes. We will spend money on one or two players and pick up others on free transfers.
“We are not looking to splash loads of cash because we haven’t got it. We want to make sure the people we bring in want to play for Queens Park Rangers, which Rio did. That was the key for me.
“He could have gone to Dubai or Qatar and earned a fortune. His wage demands were so incredibly low in my impression. It was an easy deal to do.”
Redknapp spoke to former Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs to get his opinion on Ferdinand.
Giggs replaced David Moyes at Old Trafford for the last four games of the season and picked Ferdinand for three of those fixtures.
“I spoke to Ryan, not that I had any doubt,” added Redknapp. “I just asked about how much training he did and Ryan said if he still had been his manager this year then he would have been his No 1 centre-half – when he took over last season, the first thing he did was put Rio back in the team.”