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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Rio's reasons to move
Ferdinand looks set for an Old Trafford move
Ferdinand looks set for an Old Trafford move

Leeds United's England defender Rio Ferdinand confessed he faced the toughest decision of his life as he pondered a 30m move to Manchester United.

New Leeds boss Terry Venables met Ferdinand in a London hotel on his return from holiday on Sunday to give him the hard sell on his plans for a new Elland Road era.

Venables claimed he could turn Ferdinand into a Leeds "legend" - but the defender was undoubtedly tempted by the prospect of playing alongside England World Cup colleagues David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

It is the decision that will shape the season for Leeds and Manchester United - and the future of the man who was England's outstanding figure at the World Cup.

So what did Rio Ferdinand have to weigh up ahead of putting in a transfer request at Elland Road.


PROSPECTS FOR SILVERWARE
Ferdinand admitted he was growing increasingly impatient for honours, even at the relatively tender age of 23.

Venables talked up Leeds' chances of breaking up the Premiership's established order of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Leeds still have massive potential within their squad, but Manchester United have the proven pedigree and a magnificent squad badly hurt by ending last season empty-handed.

In the race for medals, Manchester United still rank easily ahead of Leeds.


PAY PACKET
Ferdinand is reputed to be on 30,000-a-week at Leeds and insisted money was not be his motivator.

He is, however, likely to be able to at least double his salary at Old Trafford and it is true that money talks.

Manchester United will be the more lucrative move, and there will presumably be an assortment of fringe benefits associated with lining up alongside David Beckham.


PLAYING PROSPECTS
Ferdinand's England ambitions would be unaffected whether he stayed at Leeds or moved to Manchester United.

He is now established as a world-class player for club and country, and is one of the first names on England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's team-sheet.

But he will get the chance to develop his game in the Champions League by moving to Manchester United and will get the extra edge from performing in the spotlight that always shines on one of the world's biggest clubs.


LOYALTY
This was the ace in Leeds United's pack - and Venables was not slow to play the loyalty card.

Leeds paid West Ham United 18m when Ferdinand was an unproven talent.

But the 23-year-old never seemed likely to follow the career record of Alan Shearer at club level. He rejected Manchester United twice, first to join Blackburn and then to go home to Newcastle.

And while it worked in the short term with a title at Blackburn, he could have picked up a full collection for his trophy room if he had moved to Old Trafford.

Ferdinand looks to have adhered to the old football adage that if you want true loyalty, the only way to find it is to buy a dog.


SUPPORT
Leeds United supporters idolised Ferdinand and he often spoke about his debt to the Elland Road faithful since he arrived from West Ham.

Manchester United's fans have even been criticised for their lack of passion by captain Roy Keane and his infamous "prawn sandwich brigade" outburst.

This is where Leeds had the edge over Manchester United - but fans do not win medals for world-class footballers and ultimately other considerations proved the decisive factor.


VERDICT: Rio's road leads to Old Trafford

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Francis Collings
"It's a tough choice for Ferdinand"
Manchester Evening News' Peter Spencer
"Man Utd could turn Rio into a superstar"
Yorkshire Evening Post's Phil Rostron
"Venables will have charmed Rio"

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Should Rio Ferdinand join Man Utd?

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 62.21% 

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