When you’re 35 years old, have chronic back problems, and weren’t able to play regularly for your club last season, you have to take what you can get if you’re looking to continue a career in the top flight. In that sense, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Rio Ferdinand on his way to Queens Park Rangers.
But shouldn’t and aren’t are two different things. On Thursday, QPR manager Harry Redknapp confirmed that Ferdinand has agreed to join the recently promoted club next season, with the sides set to make it official when the defender returns from spending time in Brazil. At Loftus Road, Ferdinand will likely partner long-time Aston Villa stalwart Richard Dunne, with former Manchester United prospect Danny Simpson also a mainstay in Redknapp’s defense.
Those names won’t make the appearance of Ferdinand in hoops seem any less surreal. Not only are we used to seeing him in United red, but we’re used to seeing him with a certain level of quality around him. We’re used to seeing him play in big games. Even going back to his time at West Ham (over 14 years ago), Ferdinand has only once played on a team that finished outside the Premier League’s top half. Now he’s going to club that wasn’t even in the first division two months ago.
But if you’re past your prime and keep playing, this is your fate, especially when your former club needs to rebuild. Here’s Redknapp, speaking to The Telegraph:
“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.
“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.”
Undoubtedly so. Ferdinand has had his notorious moments, but he’s also a well-respected player. QPR’s not exactly a hive of young, maturing talents, but even for the crew of wayward veterans they’ve assembled, Ferdinand could be an ideal foreman.