Reading Football Club have completed the signing of central defender Anton Ferdinand on a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old was most recently plying his trade with Antalyaspor in Turkey, and he has a wealth of experience in English football with more than 300 career appearances for West Ham, QPR and Sunderland, who he joined for £8million in 2008.
The brother of Rio and cousin to former Reading striker Les, Anton will wear squad number 4 for the Royals.
The deal is subject to the normal ratification and receipt of international clearance. Having not played for almost a year, Anton is likely to need a couple of weeks before he can make his mark on the first team squad, and he began that process by training with his new teammates today.
Manager Nigel Adkins said: “I’d like to officially welcome Anton to the club, we’re pleased to have signed three players in the last few days with him, Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie. I know they will all add to what is a very hard-working group of players.”
Director of Football Nick Hammond also welcomed the defender to Madejski Stadium.
He said: “I’d like to wish Anton the best of luck here, he is a hugely experienced defender with more than 230 games in the Premier League, and that experience will also help all of our young players here.”
Ferdinand said: “It feels fantastic to sign for a club like Reading. The first thing you feel when you come here is that it’s a family environment.
“I’ve been away from English football for a year and had some tough times. Turkey is a fantastic place to go and play football, but certain things off the field didn’t allow me to enjoy my football. That chapter is closed now, and I’ve opened a new chapter at Reading and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve got things to prove, to myself and everyone. A lot of people have written me off and doubted me because I’ve been away for a year, but I’m here to prove to people that I can offer a lot to English football. I want to offer what I can to Reading, and hopefully that means promotion.
“I’m champing at the bit to play my first game. I don’t know when that will be as I’m lacking match fitness – I’m a bit behind the boys. I’m going to train hard, and when the gaffer thinks I’m ready, then I’ll be ready.”
Anton began his career at West Ham where he emerged from the Academy ranks just like his older brother.
The Peckham-born centre-back made his Hammers debut back in August 2003 and went on to establish himself in the Upton Park side, earning promotion to the Premier League and reaching an FA Cup Final during five years at the club.
In 2008, he moved to Sunderland for a sizable fee before signing for QPR three years later, totting up a total of 218 (+16) top flight appearances to date.
A Turkish loan spell with Bursaspor saw the former England under-21 international help the Super Lig side claim a Europa League spot with a fourth-placed finish in 2012-13 and last summer he made his move out to Turkey permanent with a transfer to Antalyaspor.