QPR have completed the signing of defender Toni Leistner following the expiry of his contract with FC Union Berlin.
The 27-year-old German centre-back joins on a three-year deal and adds vital experience to Steve McClaren’s young squad.
Leistner – who was the subject of interest from the Bundesliga and Championship after turning down a new deal at Union Berlin in March – has flown out to Portugal to join up with his new team-mates as they continue their pre-season preparations on the Algarve.
“I feel very proud,” he told www.qpr.co.uk. “QPR is a big club and a traditional club so it is good to be here.
“I like to play football the hard way. I love the physical side of the game and I hope I can give the supporters a lot.”
A close friend of Sebastian Polter, Leistner admits he sought the opinion of the former R’s striker who encouraged him to make the move to Loftus Road.
“He told me only good things about QPR” Leistner added. “He said the fans are very crazy, positive and he loved playing here.
“I also met the manager and he convinced me with the style he wants to play. It made my choice easy.”
Leistner becomes McClaren’s first signing as QPR boss, and the R’s chief is delighted with his capture.
“With Nedum Onuoha, Jack Robinson and James Perch leaving the club, and Grant Hall coming back from a long-term injury, we are obviously short in that area,” McClaren said.
“We have been looking for the last month for centrebacks, and we believe we have found a very good one in Toni.
“He has been much sought after, he’s run his contract down and many people were chasing his signature, from the Bundesliga and the Championship.
“I have watched him play, we have done a lot of character references on him and I went out to Berlin to meet him, to look him in the eye and speak with him.
“He is a leader, a winner and dominant in the air but can also play, so he seems an ideal fit for how we want to go forward.
“We have got a young squad, and Onuoha, Robinson and Perch were all experienced players, so getting someone in of Toni’s age and experience is crucial.
“I am delighted to have got him.”