Aston Villa made a surprise enquiry for former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand earlier this summer.

The Birmingham Mail are reporting that the Midlands club made contact with the defender’s representatives, before signing former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos instead.

Ferdinand was released by United at the end of the season, but his ambitions, and wage demands, meant that an offer from Villa was unrealistic. After putting the club up for sale, owner Randy Lerner is reluctant to invest over £100,000-a-week to sign Ferdinand, who would have been offered a 1-year deal.

The former West Ham defender is reportedly interested in a return to London, with QPR manager Harry Redknapp keen on the 35-year-old. Despite not being in England’s squad for the World Cup, Ferdinand will be going to Brazil this summer, as he is to work as part of the BBC’s coverage of the tournament.

Villa have sealed the deal to bring Philippe Senderos back to the Premier League though, with the Swiss defender also a free agent following his expired loan spell at Valencia. Senderos was part of Arsenal’s 2005 FA Cup winning squad, the last trophy the club had won until their success at Wembley last month in the same competition.