Rotherham United manager Steve Evans bided his time in his pursuit of Frazer Richardson and sounded out the defender’s previous clubs before giving the deal the green light.
Right-back Richardson, who was brought up in the town, signed a two-year deal at New York Stadium, and Evans revealed the Millers had been talking to the 31-year-old since the end of last season.
“I’m delighted to land the player a couple of months since I first heard of him coming out of Middlesbrough,” Evans said.
“He comes with the highest endorsement from people at Middlesbrough, Southampton and, most recently, Mick McCarthy at Ipswich Town.”
Richardson, who has huge Championship experience among his 300-plus games and has also played in the Premier League with Leeds and Southampton, was with Middlesbrough last season but finished the season on loan at Portman Road.
Evans added: “It goes without saying that it’s excellent to capture a lad like this who has had a number of offers from Championship clubs.
“The opportunity for a player of this calibre to play for his home-town club with Championship status meant that Frazer made it very, very easy to conclude a deal.”
Richardson signed on the same day as former Sheffield United right-winger Febian Brandy joined the club, meaning Evans has now brought in 10 new players since the Millers won promotion in the League One Play-off Final at Wembley on May 25.
Evans added: “The lad has a fantastic professionalism about him. He’s a top-quality addition who can play at right-back or on the right-hand side of midfield, or even at the centre of defence if needed.
McCarthy, who took Richardson to Ipswich, said: “He’s a terrific pro.
“I actually tried to sign him for Sunderland when he was at Leeds.”
Richardson, who went to Wickersley Comprehensive School, has also had spells with Stoke and Charlton.