Experienced international signsThe Royals are delighted to announced the signing of vastly experienced Northern Irish international Chris Baird, and he goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game away to Derby County.
Baird, 31, will wear the number 6 shirt and has joined on a deal until January.
Nigel Adkins has added Chris to his squad primarily to bolster his midfield options, while Baird also has excellent ability as a defender.
With eight years in the Premier League, more than 60 international caps and interest in him from other clubs, Chris is an excellent and timely addition, particularly in light of Jem Karacan’s injury.
Baird came through the ranks at Southampton, and his second career start was in an FA Cup final against Arsenal when he was named his team’s man of the match in a narrow defeat. He was soon player of the season for Saints, playing a total of 73(+6) games on the south coast.
He broke through to the Northern Ireland full national team aged 21, and he was handed the captaincy following his 50th cap in 2011. He played in his country’s historic wins over England and Spain and lined up in midfield in a famous draw away to Portugal last year.
In 2007 he moved to Fulham for a reported fee of more than £3million, and he was a cult hero at Craven Cottage, earning the nickname ‘Bairdinho’ after a couple of fantastic long range goals. He played in a Europa League final and was employed in a number of positions, regularly lining up in the centre of midfield alongside ex-Royal Steve Sidwell. After a total of 135(+30) appearances he left Craven Cottage at the end of last season, but he has been training all summer and played for Northern Ireland against Portugal two weeks ago.
We are delighted to have secured his services and wish Chris the best of luck here at Madejski Stadium.
The deal is subject to the normal paperwork ratification by the football authorities, and we anticipate that process will be completed shortly.