Former Champions League winning centre-half Rio Ferdinand has turned a down a host of ‘more lucrative offers’ to join Queens Park Rangers on a one year-deal.
But is the wisdom of Harry Redknapp in enlisting a man who has outlived his shelf life at Manchester United in the battle against the Super Hoops’ 2/1 relegation odds to be questioned?
Perhaps a glance at the post-Old Trafford careers of some long-term United back-four incumbents can shed some light…
Steve Bruce – Man Utd 1987 – 1996
Like Ferdinand, Bruce was 35 when he awoke from his blissful nine-year slumber at the Theatre Dreams to pen what was then one of the country’s most lucrative contracts at first division Birmingham.
Stepping down a level enabled him to continue operating respectably, but his second city years were dogged by talk of beef between him and manager Trevor Francis, with Bruce thought to have been after the manager’s job.
Gary Pallister – Man Utd 1989 – 1999
The Bruce brother was significantly less effective upon his return to Middlesbrough, also costing the Teessiders more than they’d received for his services a decade previously.
Despite this appreciation in value, his second spell was regarded with apathy at best by the Riverside faithful, with an inexplicable flaunting of the backpass rule against Liverpool a particular low point.
Jaap Stam – Man Utd 1998 – 2001
Sir Alex Ferguson regarded cashing in on the terrifying Dutchman as one of his biggest transfer errors, but acquirers Lazio were arguably short changed for their £16.5m outlay.
Suspended for four months after being found to have taken banned substance Nandrolone, he managed just 70 appearances across three seasons in Rome before he was sold on to Milan for half the amount it took to sign him.
Ronny Johnsen – Man Utd 1996 – 2002
One of the less heralded aces of the 1999 treble-winning side, Johnsen nonetheless oozed class for United, eventually leaving for Aston Villa due to injuries as much as anything else.
An unremarkable time under David O’Leary’s stewardship saw him largely remembered for an injury time own goal against the Red Devils, despite the fact that he was integral to the side that finished sixth in 2003/04.