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Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Man Utd reach Rio deal
Rio Ferdinand
Rio is the world's most expensive defender again
Manchester United have agreed a British-record 30m fee with Leeds for England defender Rio Ferdinand.

Leeds had been demanding 35m for the 23-year-old World Cup star, but have now accepted a lower offer.

The deal makes Ferdinand the world's most expensive defender for the second time.


His 18.5m move from West Ham to Leeds in November 2000 made him the world's costliest defender.

Ferdinand's trip over the Pennines to Old Trafford beats the 22.5m Juventus paid Parma for French international Lilian Thuram.

In signing Ferdinand, Manchester United have broken their own British transfer record, set when they paid Lazio 28.1m for Argentine captain Juan Sebastian Veron.

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale conducted the transfer from his holiday home in the south of France.

  World record transfers
46.5m: Zindedine Zidane (Juventus to Real Madrid).
37m: Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid).
35.7: Hernan Crespo (Parma to Lazio).
32m: Gianluigi Buffon (Parma to Juventus).
31m: Christian Vieri (Lazio to Inter Milan).
30m: Rio Ferdinand (Leeds to Man Utd).

Ridsdale said: "The increase in Rio Ferdinand's valuation since his 18m transfer from West Ham clearly signals a significant return on our original investment.

"Subject to him agreeing personal terms and passing a medical, he will be a Manchester United player.

"Everyone at Leeds wishes him all the best in his future career."

Ridsdale spent Sunday morning locked in talks with Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon.

Leeds initially said a deal needed to be struck by 1200 BST for Ferdinand to move, but later dropped the deadline.

The deal brings an end to a dramatic and long-running saga transfer.

Manchester United have tracked Ferdinand from a long way out and his performances during the World Cup only increased their desire to sign him.

Ferdinand returned form the World Cup to a flurry of activity surrounding his future.

Speculation increased when Leeds sacked manager David O'Leary, leaving replacement Terry Venables with the dificult task of holding on to Ferdinand.

Ferdinand handed in a transfer request on 17 July, but it was immediately turned down by Ridsdale.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Football agent Rachel Anderson
"It's good business for Leeds"
BBC Sport's David Eades
"Ferdinand's departure has caused mixed emotions"
Leeds chief Peter Ridsdale
"Hopefully now we can conclude the deal"

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21 Jul 02 | Sports Talk
21 Jul 02 | Man Utd
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