Rio Ferdinand has agreed to sign for Queens Park Rangers, the newly-promoted club’s manager Harry Redknapp has claimed. Ferdinand became a free agent on Tuesday following the expiration of his Manchester United contract, and a move to Loftus Road could be completed imminently.
A coup for QPR
Ferdinand may be aged 35 and carrying a body ravaged by injury in recent seasons, but the a deal for the centre-back still represents quite a coup for QPR and he will have plenty to offer upon his arrival in west London.
It initially been expected that Ferdinand would pursue a lucrative transfer to MLS, but clearly has the desire to compete at the top level of the English game. A move to QPR provides the opportunity to work with Redknapp, who gave him his break as a teenager, once again and the experienced tactician is thrilled at the prospect of recruiting his former charge.
Redknapp expects deal to be done
"Rio has agreed to join us and we're hopeful of getting that one over the line when he gets back from the World Cup,” Redknapp told The Telegraph.
"I can't foresee any problems with it and we'd be delighted if we can get it done soon. He's been a player at the top of the list since he left Manchester United and he would give the whole place a lift with his quality and experience."
The end of an era at Old Trafford
But while this represents a notable announcement for Redknapp and QPR, the news arrives as somewhat final confirmation of the end of an era at Manchester United.
Ferdinand leaves at the same time as long-term defensive a partner Nemanja Vidic, with the latter having agreed a free transfer to Inter Milan. Ferdinand and Vidic made a combined total of 755 appearances for Manchester United, while the club won 15 trophies during their time spent together at Old Trafford.
Along with these respective departures, Manchester United have also seen Ryan Giggs lower the curtain on his illustrious playing career, while Patrice Evra may now leave the club despite signing a contract extension.
Giggs’ influence will remain, of course, but in Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra, three club legends could be culled in an instant, as Manchester United make way for the next generation under a manager renowned for his willingness to put faith in youth.
Watch: Manchester United transfer update
Van Gaal regime taking shape
Louis van Gaal may not have even officially begun duties as the manager of Manchester United, but his regime is already taking significant shape in his temporary absence.
Upon his arrival, the club could be bereft of three standard-bearers of the Sir Alex Ferguson era. But Van Gaal will be intent on looking ahead rather than back, with the experienced Dutchman intent upon creating his own legacy with a new breed of Manchester United player.