Football: Queens Park Rangers sign 'monster' Samba for club-record fee

LONDON (REUTERS) - Queens Park Rangers have signed defender Christopher Samba for an undisclosed club-record fee from Anzhi Makhachkala, the Premier League team said on Thursday.

The 28-year-old centre back has signed a four-and-a-half year contract with the struggling west London club, subject to the player receiving international clearance.

Samba, a Congo international with 26 caps, spent five years in England with Blackburn Rovers from 2007-2012 and joined Rangers after an 11-month stint at Russian club Anzhi.

"This is an unbelievable signing," QPR manager Harry Redknapp said on the club website. "(Chairman) Tony Fernandes deserves a lot of credit for this one - he has worked so hard on bringing him in.

"Chris is just what we need. He's a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper centre half."

Samba, who made 23 appearances for the Russian club after signing last February, is a direct replacement for the departing Ryan Nelsen who was named head coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto this month.

"I know what is going on with the project here. There is a very important fan base here - I've played at Loftus Road before and it's fantastic," said Samba whose transfer fee was reported to be £12.5 million pounds (S$24.3 million) in British newspapers.

"The club is ambitious and I'm sure it's a good challenge for me.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe we could get out of trouble."

QPR, who play Norwich City on Saturday, are bottom of the Premier League with 16 points from 24 games.

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