The 28-year-old penned a three-and-a-half year deal with the Hoops after the west London side agreed a club record £12.5m fee with the Russian top-flight outfit.
Ryan Nelsen announced he would be taking over as manager at Major League Soccer’s Toronto in January, meaning Redknapp desperately needed a new centre-half partner for skipper Clint Hill.
Redknapp revealed he spoke to Tony Fernandes about possible replacements, and when asked by the QPR chairman who the Hoops boss would love to sign, the 65-year-old named United duo Ferdinand and Vidic, Chelsea captain Terry – and Samba.
However, the former Tottenham manager never anticipated Fernandes actually swooping for one of his top targets, with Redknapp insisting that he had nothing to do with the deal.
“Chris Samba’s signing was a complete surprise to me. He’s a player that I’ve admired for a long, long time.
“The simple facts were the chairman said to me a couple weeks ago, ‘If you had a choice of a centre-half to replace Nelsen, who would you like’.
“I gave him a couple of central defenders – Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John Terry, Chris Samba – that was as far as it went.
“He said, ‘Not that we’re going to get any of them’… it was only us sitting and having a laugh and talking.
“Then he said to me, ‘I’m close to getting one of the defenders’…I thought it can’t be Rio or Vidic, and he tells me it’s Samba. That’s how the deal went.
“The chairman did the deal – with the other shareholders – completely off his own back. It’s unbelievable.”
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